INHOFE ANNOUNCES MEDICARE DRUG DISCOUNT CARDS

Drug Discount Card Will Provide Savings to over 520,000 Oklahomans

Washington, DC - Today, Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla) announced that Oklahoma seniors may begin to sign up for the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card which will provide discounts of 10 to 25 percent for senior’s prescriptions. Low-income seniors, including 98,000 in Okalahoma, will be eligible for a $600 per year credit to help defray the cost of prescription drugs. “The Prescription Drug Discount Card is just one of the victories this Congress has brought home for our seniors after passing the Medicare Modernization Act last year,” Inhofe said. “I am all too familiar with the high costs of prescription drugs afflicting our fellow Oklahomans. This card is another step forward in ushering through a bolder more effective form of Medicare for our nation’s seniors.” Currently, there are over 40 million Medicare beneficiaries nationally, including 523,000 beneficiaries in Oklahoma. Of those in Oklahoma, 133,000 beneficiaries do not have any prescription drug coverage. This program primarily benefits these individuals by assisting them in paying for the drugs they need. Over the duration of the program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates a potential for $3.8 to $5.1 billion in total beneficiary savings from discounted drug prices nationally. The Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card was enacted into law on December 8, 2003 as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. The Administration worked with Congress to provide this voluntary program to give immediate relief to people with Medicare to help reduce their costs for prescriptions before the new drug benefit is implemented on January 1, 2006. Today, seniors and persons with disabilities without drug coverage pay some of the highest prices for prescriptions, sometimes as much as 20 percent more than those with coverage. The Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card Program will enable Medicare beneficiaries to obtain discounts of 10 to 25 percent on prescription drugs. Oklahoma has a combined total of 43 individual drug cards (excluding special endorsements). This includes 39 national drug cards, 2 regional cards, and 2 Medicare Advantage exclusive cards. Oklahoman’s interested in learning more are encouraged to call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the official Medicare website at: <http://www.medicare.gov/>