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Capitol Health Call
May 12, 2004

Card Confusion

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2183. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2183-d

A new survey shows that seniors are confused about the Medicare discount drug card program that President Bush signed into law last December. About 54% of respondents "didn't know enough to say" if the cards were part of the new law, and 7% said the cards were not included in the new law. Only 18% of those surveyed were aware that low-income participants can receive an additional $600 subsidy annually.

Seniors will save an estimated 10% to 15% on prescriptions with the cards, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The agency has approved 28 national discount card programs and 19 regional cards. Each card is sponsored by a pharmacy or other drug supplier, and every state will offer Medicare enrollees at least two card options. Each program must include a discount on at least one drug in each of 209 "therapeutics categories."

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