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Article of Interest - Medicare

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Bridges4Kids LogoLow Income Americans on Medicare Receive Drug Discount Cards
ABILITIES Buzz, October Edition
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The U.S. Health & Human Services reports that HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced on September 22 that nearly two million low-income Americans on Medicare will soon be automatically eligible for prescription discounts through the Medicare Drug Discount card and qualify for an additional $1,200 in savings over the next 14 months.

The Medicare beneficiaries will receive a drug discount card in the mail next month, which they can begin to use immediately to get savings at pharmacies, Secretary Thompson said. In addition to receiving the card, beneficiaries will also receive instructions on how to activate the $1,200 benefit. To do so recipients will have to verify by phone that they meet income guidelines and do not have other drug coverage. "Seniors with limited means who are struggling to pay for their medicines can save right away," Secretary Thompson said. "We're making it automatic, so those who qualify for the $1,200 credit get it as soon as possible."

The 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries getting cards can activate the $1,200 additional benefit by calling the randomly selected sponsor or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE. They also will have the option of choosing a different sponsor's card. If they do choose another card, they will be automatically dis-enrolled from the randomly assigned card. The letters will go to people who receive state help to pay Medicare premiums in what are known as Medicare Savings Programs (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary, and Qualifying Individual). Those in the Medicare Savings Programs meet the income tests to make them eligible for the credit.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is also working with more than 100 community-based organizations across the country to reach seniors and people with disabilities who are struggling with the costs of their medicines and help them enroll in the discount drug cards and the $600 credit if they qualify. These partners include 92 groups that formed the Access to Benefits Coalition for the purpose of helping people with Medicare take advantage of the savings that come with the discount drug cards. Medicare beneficiaries who do not receive prescription drug coverage through Medicaid are eligible for a Medicare-approved drug discount card. In addition, Medicare beneficiaries whose annual incomes are below $12,569 for singles and $16,862 for married couples are eligible for the $600 credit.

ABILITIES BUZZ is sponsored by Advanstar Communications, producers of Abilities Expo. We encourage our readers to submit information on news and articles of interest that can be shared within the industry. Send story ideas to Amy Riemer at Our goal is to keep you abreast of the latest news being reported in the industry to improve the lives of people with disabilities, senior citizens, their families and caregivers - as well as healthcare and education professionals.


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