< Back to Search

State Letter #05-09

Information on Initiatives by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to Help Eligible Low-Income Individuals Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs

Published: May 23, 2005
Types:
State Letter
Tags:
cmms, prescription drugs

TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: Nguyen Van Hanh, Ph.D.
Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

SUBJECT: Information on Initiatives by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to Help Eligible Low-Income Individuals Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs.

The following is information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid on several Medicare-related initiatives. We believe that this information is helpful to Medicare refugee clients. We recommend that State Refugee Coordinators share this information with refugee service providers in order to help low-income refugee clients with Medicare reduce their prescription drug costs by receiving benefits from the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), which was enacted December 8, 2003.

The Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance program will end December 31, 2005. The HHS' new Part D Drug program will become effective January 1, 2006, therefore, it is important that Medicare refugee clients are aware of this prescription drug costs benefit program.

During 2005, agencies serving refugees can assist their Medicare refugee clients select a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card and apply for a credit of up to $600 toward the cost of their drugs by:

  • Obtaining a list of medicines and doses from a person with Medicare;
  • Their total monthly income and zip code;
  • Calling (1-800-633-4227) to receive information about drug sponsors that offer discounts for the person with Medicare, or by going to www.medicare.gov/AssistancePrograms/ and following the instructions; and
  • Enrolling the person with Medicare in a Drug Discount Card program by filling out a short enrollment form (An enrollment fee of up to $30.00 is charged for persons not eligible for the credit).

On a pro-rated basis in 2005, people with Medicare with incomes below 135 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $12,569 for individuals or $16,862 for couples) may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $300 toward the purchase of their drugs. Individuals who receive the credit will pay a coinsurance of 5 or 10 percent for their prescription drugs based on their income. Individuals who are not eligible for the credit will pay the card sponsor's price.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide outreach, marketing materials, program brochures, education assistance, and technical assistance at no cost to community action agencies via a subcontractor to help educate low-income Medicare beneficiaries about the new Part D drug benefit which begins January 1, 2006.

To learn more about this program and how you can help Medicare refugee clients in your community reduce their cost of prescription drugs, please contact Daniel Evans, CMS, at 1-410-786-3326.