NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE MEDICAL GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

December 15, 2004

Helping a senior get a Medicare-approved drug discount card is a gift that will last throughout the coming year and bring you gratitude from a senior every time that person saves money on prescriptions at the neighborhood pharmacy, says Jack Strayer, a writer for the National Center for Policy Analysis.

  • Savings can run anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars a year, depending on the quantity and the costs of the medicines purchased.
  • The cards usually save consumers 10 percent to 25 percent per prescription, but to get that discount they must sign up for a Medicare-approved drug card before Dec. 31.
  • Individuals with annual incomes of less than $12,569 and couples making less than $16,682 can get the cards free; other Medicare-eligible recipients may have to pay a $30 fee.
  • If you already have an approved drug discount card but are disappointed with your returns, you have until year's end to drop it and sign up with a different program for next year.
  • Low-income seniors especially should try to beat the deadline so they can take advantage of the federal government's $600 credit that -- while initially available this year -- can still be used in 2005 by seniors who've waited until the end of the year to obtain a discount card.

Source: Jack Strayer, "The medical gift that keeps on giving," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 13, 2004.

 

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