Understanding Options for Medicare Discount Card Programs

Posted by on Dec 28, 2012 in Health | 0 comments

Understanding Options for Medicare Discount Card Programs

 

Many discount cards offer attractive prices for prescription medications. For brand name drugs, average savings range between 15 percent and 30 percent off of the normal prices. However, the discounts for mail-order drugs are even higher in many cases. The biggest discount offered is for generic drugs, which usually cost between 30 and 60 percent less.

People who have Medicare are able to enroll in approved drug discount card programs. If a person receives outpatient prescriptions through Medicaid, he or she will not be eligible for these special programs. Those who receive help from sources such as health plans, Medigap or retiree insurance will not need these programs. However, those who do not receive outside help and are struggling to pay for their prescriptions will find it worthwhile to research these discount cards.

Individuals who do not have prescription coverage and have limited income may receive the most help with their medication costs. Monthly income restrictions apply. Since these amounts may change from one year to the next, it is important to discuss current rates and rules with an agent. In addition to receiving regular discounts, members may also receive additional discounts from drug manufacturers.

Enrollment in discount card programs is voluntary. Discuss enrollment terms with an agent before planning to take this step. Depending on when a person enrolls, there may be a short waiting period before full benefits begin. There is no single plan that is best for every person. Since each individual uses different medications and obtains them in different ways, it is important to spend some time comparing plans and their features. Interested individuals can discuss this issue with an agent or contact Medicare directly for help. The phone number is 1-800-MEDICARE, so it is easy to remember. Alternately, it is possible to learn more by visiting Medicare.gov and using the comparison tool. When calling to speak to a Medicare representative, it is important to have the following bits of information available:

– Zip code for the city of residence.
– Current medications being taken and their doses.
– Gross monthly income.
– The name of a local preferred pharmacy.
– If applicable, any names of card programs of specific interest.

People who contact Medicare by phone will receive a special brochure in the mail. The brochure provides an overview of discount cards, which are selected based on a person’s individual needs and preferences about methods of obtaining medicine. Since these programs are more popular than they have ever been, it is important to avoid waiting to obtain information.