Millions of senior citizens can sign up this month for one of several Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards. Florida officials are teaming up with volunteers to help seniors figure out which new discount card is right for them.
A new federal discount program that could help senior citizens struggling to pay high prescription drug costs kicks in next month, but there are literally dozens of different discount cards available
Bob Burke and his wife came to a workshop sponsored by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to try to make sense of the program.
“When they have this many cards that you have to choose from and boiling it down to knowing the kind of card to choose, you hope you make the right decision,” says Bob.
The cards cost up to $30 as an enrollment fee, but save you anywhere from 10 to 15 percent on many prescription drugs. The problem is different cards charge different fees, cover different drugs, and offer different amounts of savings. Volunteers trying to get the word out say it hasn’t been easy.
Jim Drake, a volunteer, says, “I’m working with one client now who’s 95 and it’s almost impossible to comprehend the program.”
You’ll see signs like this one at pharmacies promoting the drug discount cards, but what can also be confusing is the cards do not help everyone.
“A lot of people already have prescription coverage that they’re getting whether it’s through a managed care program or another card-type program, so we’re really recommending that people shop around and see if this is something that can provide them some assistance,” says Tom Reimers with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
Seniors we talked to say the workshop was helpful, but without the one-on-one attention. Millions of others could miss out on thousands of dollars in savings by choosing a card that doesn’t meet their needs.
The state estimates about half a million of Florida’s three million Medicare recipients will be able to save money on drugs with the cards.
For information about workshops on the discount drug cards around the state, call 1-800-96-ELDER.
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