HHS Announces New Medicare Drug Cards

March 25, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com)-U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson has approved 28 private companies to provide Medicare drug discount cards, beginning June 1.

The Medicare drug card program will be available to all Medicare beneficiaries, except those who already receive outpatient drugs through Medicaid.

HHS hopes to being enrolling people in May, but, beginning in late April, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to compare prices of drugs offered through the drug card program at http://www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE and taking to a customer service representative.

Through the card program, low-income Medicare beneficiaries, individuals whose income is less than $12,569 each year or married couples whose income is less than $16,862, will also be able to qualify for a $600 annual credit to pay for prescription medications, and will have the enrollment fee of up to $30 waived.

The new Medicare drug card program was created as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.

A list of Medicare-approved card sponsors is available at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20040325.html .