Enroll for drug discount card by June 30

Enroll for drug discount card by June 30 Low-income South Dakotans not yet enrolled in a Medicare-approved drug discount card have through June 30 to enroll in a card and receive a $450 prescription drug credit for 2005, according to Department of Social Services Secretary Deborah Bowman.

Those who applied for a Medicare-approved drug discount card in 2004 received the full $600 prescription drug credit no matter what month during the year they applied. Bowman said any unused portion of a $600 credit from 2004 will carry over into this year for individuals who previously applied and enrolled in a drug discount card in 2004.

In 2005, Bowman said the credit amount that people will receive is based on when they apply for a drug discount card.

"Low-income South Dakotans stand to lose part of a free prescription drug credit if they don't enroll in a card before July 1," Bowman said. "The $600 credit is reduced by $150 for every three months that people delay enrolling after Jan. 1. For example, a person who applies for the credit between April 1 and June 30 will receive a $450 credit, but those who apply on or after July 1 will only receive $300."

People can use the free credit to help pay for their prescription drugs. Bowman said people receiving Medicare who have an annual income of less than $12,919 if they are single or $17,320 if they married are eligible for the credit.

Since June 2004, nearly 6 million people with Medicare have enrolled in a drug discount card and more than 1.7 million have received the credit nationwide. The cards cover virtually all of the top 100 drugs and typically more than 80 percent of all prescription drugs.

For more information or to enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or go online at www.medicare.gov. Those who have questions or need assistance with enrolling a drug discount card can also contact the South Dakota Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE) program at 1-800-536-8197.

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