If you have not done so already, you can sign up for the new, voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. For the first time in history, every senior in America now has access to affordable prescription drug assistance.
If you are over 65, since November 15, 2005 you have been able to sign up for prescription drug assistance. For less than $30 per month, Medicare will cover 75% of your prescriptions between $250 and $2,250. Medicare will even cover 95% of your catastrophic prescription drug costs, above $3,600.
If you make less than $14,355 (if you are single) or $19,245 (as a married couple), Medicare will offer additional help with your prescription drug costs. The premiums will be lower, the co-payments are reduced, and you will have no gap in coverage. If Medicaid already covers your prescription drugs, the new benefit will automatically pay for your prescriptions.
I would like to stress that this benefit is completely voluntary - if you already have comparable prescription drug coverage from an employer, you can keep it. Also, you have until May 15, 2006, to join. However, if you do not have prescription drug coverage and you do not join by that date, you will be penalized a small amount for every month you delay. For 2006, the penalty is an additional $3.20 per month. You will pay this penalty for as long as you stay in the program.