Medicare announced its first group of endorsed prescription drug discount cards. Medicare members can enroll in one of the discount programs after May 2, 2004. The cards can be used beginning June 1, 2004.
The web site www.medicare.gov has a feature that makes it easy to find the discount card programs that are available to you. Type in your ZIP code, the prescription drugs you use, and some other information. Then, the site displays the relevant programs in your area, including the annual enrollment fee and contact information. In my area, 27 plans are listed with enrollment fees from $10 to $30. Web site links will allow ease comparison of the plans. Most plans will make details available after April 29, 2004.
Those without web access can get the information by calling 800-633-4227.
Medicare also has produced the booklet, Guide to Choosing a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card. It is available on the web site or by calling the number above.
Remember that you can sign up only for one Medicare-endorsed card. Also, compare the discounts with those offered by already-existing drug discount programs. Some of these programs are summarized on our web site. Don’t overlook low-cost pharmacies such as Costco and Wal-Mart.
Another feature that will be available on the Medicare web site or by calling the toll-free number starting April 29, 2004, is a price comparison of prescription drugs. Medicare is building a database of drug prices around the country. The plan is for a Medicare member can enter a ZIP code and type of prescription drug. The database will list current retail prices for the drug at different pharmacies near the member.