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The New Medicare Drug Discount Program

Published by 4Hope on 2004/6/30 (4497 reads)
Each month ElderHope does two short tapings for the thrice daily Community Focus segment on KEOM88.5FM (don't you just love using words like thrice). We are in a rotation with a number of other community based organizations. This month we did a segment on the new Medicare Drug Discount Program. This is the script for that segment.

Learning about the New Medicare Drug Discount Program
Taped live at the KEOM studios in Mesquite, Texas
June 23, 2004

Q:So, Barb, what are we talking about today?

A: Today, I thought we would talk a little about the new drug prescription program that Congress recently authorized. There has been much confusion associated with the new program. Indeed, the lack of response and enrollment in the program has government and insurers scratching their collective heads. There seems to be considerable misunderstanding, if not misinformation, about the program. Indeed, there are a number of issues that will likely need to be adjusted before the Prescription Drug program can be considered successful.

Q: Can using the new Drug Cards be a genuine benefit to consumers?

A: Indeed, they can provide some meaningful relief. Savings can run anywhere between 16 and 60 percent, depending on the medication. Generic drugs have the greatest savings. Depending on income and life situation, benefits can be even more significant, up to $600.00 or more. But, consumers must take responsibility for doing some research before enrolling in a plan. Not all of the plans have the same benefits for the same medications. They vary widely.

Q: What do listeners need to know about their medicines before they enroll?

A: From the Medicare website, they need to know three things: First, their zip code; Second, the medications they are currently taking, and the amount and frequency of each dose; Third, they need to know their current income, if they are anticipating receiving the additional income related benefits.

Q: How much are the discount cards?

A: The cost of the cards varies between plans. However, cards may not cost more than $30.00. Many of them cost less or have no cost at all.

Q: You mentioned that there has been a great deal of confusion over the program. What are some of the issues that give rise to that confusion?

A: One of the issues is that the various cards have somewhat different prices, have different prices for the medications, and may have different lists of drugs that they cover. Again, it requires that listeners determine what card will work best for them with their individual medication needs, then make application to the card provider to get the card. I think the sense is that it’s too much of a hassle to go through. But, it does offer real benefits to consumers, especially those on fixed incomes struggling to pay for their medications.

Q: Is there any kind of resource that can make the process easier and help listeners determine who the best provider would be with their individual needs?

A: Absolutely. The best resource is the internet. Users who are not familiar with the internet would benefit from sitting down with a friend or loved one who is. There are a wealth of online resources that cut through a lot of the confusion. Two resources that we want to recommend, which we have links to on our web site, are
and The Medicare site even has a calculator that helps you see which medications are covered and which are not. Listeners can also call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.


Tags: drug   prescription   medicare  

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