Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


Can I get a Medicare-approved drug discount card? How much can a drug discount card save me? Can I get a drug discount card for free? This document has answers to these and many more questions about drug discount cards.

Can I get a Medicare-approved drug discount card?

  • Yes, if you are on Medicare, AND you are not on Medicaid
  • If you are on QMB and Medicaid pays your Medicare premiums, you can get a discount card. Being on QMB does not count as being on Medicaid.

How much can a drug discount card save me?

  • You can save 10% to 17% on brand name drugs.
  • You can save 30% to 60% for generic drugs.
  • People eligible for a free card may save even more.
    • After they use their $600 credit up, they may be able to use their cards to get drugs from Merck, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson for just $5 or $10. None of that money goes to the drug companies themselves.
    • Eli Lilly, Abbott Laboratories, Astrazeneca and Wyeth are offering big discounts, too. For example, Abbott offers Synthroid for $5 and other drugs for $12.

How much does a drug discount card cost?

  • At most $30
  • Some companies sell them for as little as $10.
  • Some people with little income can get them for free.

Can I get a drug discount card for free?

  • Yes, if your income is less than $12,570 this year, and you do not have other insurance paying for drugs.
  • Yes, if you are married with less than $16,863 income this year, and you do not have other insurance paying for drugs.
  • People who get free cards also can get $600 toward the costs of drugs they buy.
  • The $600 is a line of credit, not cash.
  • You may be able to get another $600 next year.

What insurance could keep me from getting a free drug discount card?

  • Military insurance (TRICARE for Life);
  • Federal employees' health benefits; and
  • Some other employee and retirement plans.

Do I have to get a Medicare-approved drug discount card?

  • No, the cards are voluntary.
  • You decide whether it will save you money.
  • If you can get a free card and $600 in credit toward drugs, get one.

How do I get a Medicare-approved drug discount card?

  • Private companies are selling them.
  • You can choose a company and call it.

How can I get help in comparing cards?

  • Call the Medicare Help Line at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask about "drug savings." You may have to wait ten minutes on hold.
  • TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
  • You can also look at on the web. Choose "Find available Medicare-approved drug discount cards, and compare prices for your prescriptions." You have to answer questions online. Also, beware. Some prices are wrong.
  • If you like your drug store, ask what drug discount plans it is working with. Then, you can decide just to pick between them.

When can I get a card?

  • Now. Before choosing one, look and ask around.
  • After you choose a card, you cannot change until next year.

When do my savings start?

  • As soon as you sign up and get a card.

Should I pick a drug discount card from someone who calls me or sends me a letter?

  • You can. Many companies may call or write you.
  • Check first. Some people have tried to rip off Medicare recipients in Alabama.
  • You can check by calling Medicare at 1-800-Medicare. (1-800-633-4227)
  • Be aware that companies can change their drugs and prices any week. So, you can never be sure what deals you will get.

What if I wait until next year?

  • You lose out on discounts this year.
  • More importantly, if your income is low, you lose the chance to get $600 credit for drugs.

How will a drug discount card affect my Food Stamps?

  • Getting help with your drugs will not make you lose any food stamps.
  • The food stamp office will not count any of your savings as income.
  • If you get the $600 credit, the food stamp office will not count that.
  • The food stamp office will keep giving you the medical deduction you have been getting. It gives you a deduction as if you were still paying in full.

Should I get a drug discount card?

  • If your income is under $12,570 a year, the answer is YES.
  • If you and your husband have income under $16,863 a year, the answer is YES.
  • If your income is above $12,570 a year, it may be worth your while.

Reviewed January 18, 2021 offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online at

Last Review and Update: Aug 26, 2008
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