For seniors: Medicare-approved discount cards

For seniors: Medicare-approved discount cards The best gift you can give a senior citizen this holiday season might be to help him or her sign up for a Medicare-approved drug discount card.

"It's estimated the drug discount cards may save consumers from 10 to 25 percent off the cost of medications," South Dakota State University

Extension Family Resource Management Specialist Liz Gorham said. "In addition, individuals who meet low-income guidelines may be able to get a $1,200 credit to help cover drug costs if they sign up by Dec. 31. They will receive the full $600 credit for 2004, and be automatically enrolled to receive the $600 credit for 2005."

A Medicare recipient would likely be eligible to receive the $1,200 credit if he or she is single and has an annual income of $12,569 or less; or is married with an annual income of $16,863 or less.

Qualifying low-income Medicare recipients who sign up after the Dec. 31 deadline are eligible for a $600 credit instead of the full $1,200, Gorham said. However, she added that the money is prorated, so only those who sign up by March 31 will get the full amount in 2005.

Ask at your county Extension office for more details about Medicare-approved drug discount cards. Or call the Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE) office at 1-800-536-8197.

Information is also available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE

(1-800-633-4227).

HEAD:For seniors: Medicare-approved discount cards BROOKINGS, S.D. – The best gift you can give a senior citizen this holiday season might be to help him or her sign up for a Medicare-approved drug discount card. "It's estimated the drug discount cards may save consumers from 10 to 25 percent off the cost of medications," South Dakota State University Extension Family Resource Management Specialist Liz Gorham said. "In addition, individuals who meet low-income guidelines may be able to get a $1,200 credit to help cover drug costs if they sign up by Dec. 31, 2004. They will receive the full $600 credit for 2004, and be automatically enrolled to receive the $600 credit for 2005." A Medicare recipient would likely be eligible to receive the $1,200 credit if he or she is single and has an annual income of $12,569 or less; or is married with an annual income of $16,863 or less. Qualifying low-income Medicare recipients who sign up after the Dec. 31 deadline are eligible for a $600 credit instead of the full $1,200, Gorham said. However, she added that the money is prorated, so only those who sign up by March 31 will get the full amount in 2005. Ask at your county Extension office for more details about Medicare-approved drug discount cards. Or call the Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE) office at 1-800-536-8197. Information is also available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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