Meeting Examines Drug Discounts

April 30, 2004
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WASHINGTON — Seniors interested in using the new federally supported prescription drug discount cards, which go into effect Monday, May 3, can now see how much the cards will save them and which card is best for them thanks to a Web site and telephone helpline established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers announced.

“The Medicare reform legislation passed by Congress is a tremendous step forward in improving the health and lives of older Americans,” Ehlers said. “This legislation modernizes Medicare and provides a prescription drug benefit for all seniors in Medicare that is affordable and voluntary. For the first time in history, it will provide all Medicare beneficiaries with access to a Medicare prescription drug benefit.”

Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, will be discussing the new Medicare program during his town meeting scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday, May 1, at the Gerald R. Ford Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids.

The price-comparison service is available through HHS’s Medicare Web site atwww.medicare.gov. This feature allows seniors to see how much they’ll save with the new prescription drug discount cards and assists them in deciding which of the available Medicare-approved discount cards they should sign up for. Those who do not have Internet access can call 1-800-MEDICARE for the same service.

Web site users enter their ZIP code, some general financial information, a list of the medications they take, and how far they are willing to travel to a pharmacy. The site then will show them which card offers the greatest savings in their area.

“Seniors across the country will soon have an option of choosing Medicare prescription drug coverage if they so desire. Beginning May 3, thanks to the improvements we made to Medicare, each beneficiary will be entitled to select a prescription drug discount card of their choice that will provide immediate savings,” Ehlers said. “I encourage all seniors and people who care about them to inquire about enrollment, to see what the best plan is for them, and to begin immediately saving on their drug costs.”        

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