The Real Scoop on Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Cards

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Recently, the government passed a Medicare reform bill. Part of that program provides for Medicare-approved drug discount cards. But people are already worried about how the program will work. And needless to say, the legislation is not simple for seniors to understand. Be aware that card scams have already been identified in many states. The REAL Medicare approved cards will have the Medicare Seal of Approval clearly marked on the front of the card. Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM, nationally recognized long-term care expert and author gives the REAL scoop on the new program.

Valerie VanBooven, The Long Term Care Expert- is pleased to announce that beginning in May, the Pharmacy Care Alliance will offer a new prescription drug discount card to help eligible Medicare beneficiaries save as much as 40 percent* on their drug costs. The Pharmacy Care Alliance Drug Discount Card is approved by Medicare, recommended by pharmacies and supported by the strength and care of more than 37,000 pharmacies, in neighborhoods across the U.S.

Be aware that card scams have already been identified in many states. The REAL Medicare approved cards will have the Medicare Seal of Approval clearly marked on the front of the card.

As part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, the drug discount card is available to Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S., except those who have prescription drug coverage under their state’s Medicaid (Medical Assistance) program.

In addition to discounts on name brand and generic medicines, the Pharmacy Care Alliance Drug Discount Card provides members with personal assistance at any one of 37,000 neighborhood network pharmacies. In these locations, pharmacists can help Medicare beneficiaries enroll in the drug discount card and answer questions about savings on their specific medications.

What is the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act?

1. The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 brought important new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries. Under this new law, Medicare will offer a prescription drug plan beginning in 2006. Until then, Medicare is working with approved private companies, such as the Pharmacy Care Alliance, to offer eligible Medicare beneficiaries discounts on prescriptions drugs.

Who qualifies?

1. The discount card is available to all Medicare beneficiaries who do not have outpatient drug benefits under a state Medicaid program. In addition, to ensure that people with the greatest need receive the greatest help, Medicare also offers financial assistance through a credit of $600. This credit may be provided to eligible beneficiaries whose income is below $12,569 if single (in Alaska $15,701 or less and in Hawaii $14,445 or less) or $16,862 if married (in Alaska $21,074 or less and in Hawaii $19,386 or less) to help pay for prescription drugs.

How much will it cost?

1. There are two options for an annual enrollment fee for the Pharmacy Care Alliance drug discount card.

Option 1: $30 annual enrollment fee. This option works for people who buy two or more prescription drugs per month.

Option 2: $19 annual enrollment fee. This option works for people who buy fewer than two prescription drugs per month. You’ll pay one dollar more per drug than you would in Option 1.

2. For those receiving the Medicare credit of $600, Medicare will pay the annual enrollment fee.

3. If you do not select an option, you will be automatically enrolled in Option 1.

Where do we get more information?

There are several easy ways to get more information or to enroll in the discount card:

1. Visit a network pharmacy that supports the Pharmacy Care Alliance Drug Discount Card and ask for an enrollment kit. The pharmacy can help you fill out the enrollment form and can mail or fax it in for you.

2. Visit the Pharmacy Care Alliance Web site at http://www.PCAcard.com to learn more about how to enroll or to enroll online.

3. Call 1-800-PCA-7015 (1-800-722-7015) 24 hours a day, seven days a week to enroll by phone. TTY users should call 1-866-735-8516.

When can we begin using the card?

1. Once your enrollment form is received and approved, the Pharmacy Care Alliance will send you further information about the drug discount card, including details about when you can begin using the card—usually on the first day of the month following acceptance into the program.

If you have general questions about the Medicare-approved discount drug card, you should call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.) Or, visit http://www.medicare.gov on the web.

*Discounts vary by drug. Contact Pharmacy Care Alliance to find out if your prescription drug is covered and the discounted price.

Valerie VanBooven, author of Aging Answers: Secrets to Sucessful Long-Term Care Planning, Caregiving, and Crisis Management, is available to educate audiences nationwide on one of the most important topics of our time. She has appeared on CNNFN, Today Show, and in Time Magazine, as well as on hundreds of radio shows and in print articles across the country. She can be reached at 877-529-0550 or on the web at http://www.theltcexpert.com

If you would like to listen to audio interview on the topic, go to http://www.healthywealthywiseradio.com and click on ARCHIVES.

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Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM
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