or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Medicare Discount Drug Card Offers Needed Relief

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown


Medicare Discount Drug Card Offers Needed Relief
B U.S. Pepresentative Kenny Hulshof
Columbia Business Times June 12, 2004

This June marks a significant new milestone for Medicare. This month, seniors now have access to drug discount cards, which are a part of the federal government's new Medicare prescription drug plan. The Medicare discount drug card program provides beneficiaries with significant discounts and information on their prescription drugs.

June is known for many things, not the least of which are graduations and weddings. Both are significant milestones that are achieved as we grow older and more mature.

Back in the 1960's, President Lyndon B. Johnson helped craft a program that provided a safety net for seniors. Unfortunately, while Medicare has grown older, it has not matured or changed much at all since its inception.

This June marks a significant new milestone for Medicare. This month, seniors now have access to drug discount cards, which are a part of the federal government's new Medicare prescription drug plan. The Medicare discount drug card program provides beneficiaries with significant discounts and information on their prescription drugs.

Group purchasing power is the driving force behind the new discount drug cards. Seniors lacking drug coverage often pay full retail price for their medicines. With the prescription drug card, seniors will benefit from the combined group purchasing power of those enrolled in the Medicare program. It is anticipated that the drug cards will lead to an average savings of 10% to 25% off the retail price of most drugs.

Already, within the first three weeks of the discount cards being offered, we are starting to see lower prices. Medicare drug cards are now offering prices below retail, and even below those offered on Internet sites. Competition among companies offering drug discount cards will continue to result in even bigger savings for seniors.

These discounts provided by the drug cards serve as the transition to the comprehensive, voluntary drug benefit that begins in 2006. Only those beneficiaries who choose to enroll in the program will receive a drug card.

Low-income seniors stand to gain the most from the new drug cards. Medicare-approved cards will provide up to $600 annually in additional assistance for low-income seniors. Similar to a debit card, this money will be directly credited to the drug cards of beneficiaries.

In general, seniors and disabled individuals with annual earnings, at or below $12,569 for a single individual or $16,862 for a couple, will qualify for the $600 in additional assistance. The federal government will pay the drug card's enrollment fee for those who qualify for the $600 credit.

People receiving benefits through the Missouri SenioRx program are still eligible for the discount card program. Under the new law, SenioRx can partner with the sponsor of a drug card to coordinate benefits, pay enrollment fees or provide assistance with coinsurance payments.

When you throw around a lot of numbers, and bureaucratic language, it's easy for an issue to become confusing. That's why, along with U.S. Senator Jim Talent, I am hosting a Town Hall forum on this issue June 14th at the ARC in Columbia at 10 a.m. This will be an opportunity for seniors to discuss these changes and ask questions. An official from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as a representative from AARP will join us.

Additional informational resources include a website maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You can logon at www.medicare.gov. There you'll find the latest information, including a comparison of drug card prices. They also have hundreds of customer service representatives standing by to answer your questions at 1-800-MEDICARE. I urge you to take advantage of these resources.

These prescription drug cards offer an immediate way for you to take advantage of the recent Medicare changes. I am confident that as we move toward the comprehensive benefit in 2006 they will provide the tangible, meaningful relief from high drug costs that our seniors deserve.

Back to top