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 www.medicare.gov 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 August 2008
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