Need Help with the Cost of your Prescription Drugs?

By Barbara J. Artuso, Esq.

Low-income Medicare recipients (annual income under $12,569 for individuals, $16,862 for married couples) should sign up for prescription cards now! These cards are the beginning of a plan to have Medicare provide prescription drug insurance, which will begin in 2006.

For now, Medicare recipients are eligible to choose one of 40 national or 33 regional prescription drug plans in connection with their Medicare benefits. Sign-up for the cards began on May 3, 2004, and the cards became effective June 1, 2004. Information on the specific prescription plans available, price comparisons, and where the cards can be used is available online at the Medicare website (www.medicare.gov) or by telephone at 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227).

For low-income Medicare recipients, the cards will cover $600 of prescription drugs in 2004 and another $600 in 2005. In some cases, pharmaceutical companies may provide additional low cost medication once the $600 allowance is used. A survey of card sponsors found that the cards would produce average discounts of 17 percent for brand-name drugs and 35 percent for generic drugs.

In the last six weeks of 2004, Medicare beneficiaries can choose to either renew their cards or select one from a different company for use in 2005.

Trying to find the best health care and prescription drug plan for you is a complex process. No single solution fits each circumstance. We at Quatrini Rafferty will continue to keep you informed of developments in this area. And, as always, please contact us with any questions you may have about health care and prescription drug coverage. Email a Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Attorney now or phone us at 724-837-0080 in Greensburg or toll free at 888-534-6016 if you have any questions.

For more information on Social Security please visit our expansive Social Security Information Center or our Social Security Frequently Asked Questions.

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