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Q: Medicare Card ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Medicare Card
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: renoir-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 May 2004 14:32 PDT
Expires: 21 Jun 2004 14:32 PDT
Question ID: 350473
Medicare has just introduced a new "medicare prescription" drug
benefit for people on Medicare.  The Medicare person must first buy a
card from a pharmacy for about  $10-20 to obtain benfits.  I need a
BRIEF dscription of how the program works.  Your answer should be NO MORE than
one page.  I am not eligible for the $600 credit so omit that
in your answer.  Also dont refer me to government sites..there is no
way to understand them.
Subject: Re: Medicare Card
Answered By: voila-ga on 22 May 2004 16:51 PDT
Hello renoir,

I completely understand the language barrier at governmental websites.
  Instead, I located Express Scripts through this article:

Pharmaceutical pricing and healthcare access: lead policy agenda:
rising healthcare costs and pressure to expand healthcare coverage
focus public attention on the costs of prescription drugs.(Washington
Pharmaceutical Technology, March, 2004, by Jill Wechsler

"In a surprise move, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores
(NACDS) and the PBM Express Scripts announced plans to jointly offer
what they hope will be a leading national discount Medicare pharmacy
card. Despite previous opposition to pharmacy card programs, NACDS now
is encouraging member pharmacies to sign up. Express Scripts will
negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and promises to pass
all discounts and rebates on to consumers at the point of sale.
Customers will be able to obtain prescriptions through a mail-order
program but will not have to opt for mail to obtain 90-day refills.
Express Scripts aims to start marketing the card in April 2004, begin
enrolling Medicare beneficiaries in May 2004,and become operational on
1 June 2004."

Express Scripts is a Medicare (CMS) approved and their site is very
well organized with clear communication.

Clicking on "Pharmacy Care Alliance Drug Discount Card" takes you to a
very straightforward page that steps you through an overview of the
program and enrollment process which will allow you to save 40% on
your prescription medication.  There are 43,000 pharmacies
participating in this alliance, so there should be a location in your

The Pharmacy Care Alliance discount card is available to all Medicare
beneficiaries throughout the U.S. except for those who have
prescription drug coverage under their state's Medicaid (Medical
Assistance) program.

There are four ways to apply for a card:

1.  Visit a neighborhood pharmacy in the PCA network, and ask your
pharmacist to help you fill out the enrollment form and send it in for
2.  Apply online now. 
3.  Print an enrollment form, fill it out and send it in. 
4.  Call the Pharmacy Care Alliance's toll-free telephone number. 
Toll-free: 1.800.PCA.7015 (1.800.722.7015)

There are two options for annual enrollment in the Drug Discount Card program:

Option 1: $30 annual enrollment fee. This option works for people who
buy two or more prescription drugs per month. (Note: If you do not
choose Option 2 (below), you will be automatically enrolled in Option

Option 2: $19 annual enrollment fee. This option works for people who
buy fewer than two prescription drugs per month. You'll pay $1 more
per drug than you would in Option 1.

To determine a pharmacy in your area, you may use this pharmacy finder tool:

To check on a drug price, here is a pricing tool


Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Enrollment Booklet (Adobe Acrobat required)

PCA Member Handbook


A Primer on the New Drug Discount

CNN News

Aetna Rx Card

76 Things You Should Know About the New Medicare Drug Discount Cards      

From the Medicare website, there are 25 sponsors who will provide
Medicare-approved drug discount cards to all eligible applicants and
here's the list:

Advance PCS Health
Aetna Health Management, LLC
Argus Health Systems, Inc.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.
Caremark Advantage, Inc.
Catalyst Rx
Computer Sciences Corporation
Express Scripts, Inc.
First Health Services Corporation
Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc.
Independence Blue Cross, Inc.
Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance
Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
PBM Plus, Inc.3
PharmaCare Management Services, Inc.
Pharmacy Care Alliance, Inc.
Prime Therapeutics, Inc.
Scrip Solutions, LLC
Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company, Inc.
SXC Health Solutions, Inc.
United Healthcare Insurance Co.
UPMC Health Plan  
WellPoint Pharmacy Management
WHP Health Initiatives

I chose Express Scripts website for their ease operation; however, you
might decide this is not the plan for you and I would also read
carefully the withdrawal penalties should you decide to leave their

I trust this is the information you need to make an informed decision
on the new drug discount card.  While the claims of savings are up to
40%, the CNN story more realistically places the discount at 17 to
35%.  Either way, I wish you considerable savings on your drug
expenses.  It's a benefit that's been a long time coming.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate in posting a
clarification request before rating my answer.

Best wishes,

Clarification of Answer by voila-ga on 24 May 2004 06:28 PDT
Hello again renoir,

At the risk of drifting into a Page 2 situation (difficult to tell on
a computer screen), I wanted to give you some additional
information/links and advise you on other options available.   The
Medicare Discount Drug Card program is optional and since Medicare
allows pharmacies to adjust pricing weekly, there is some concern for
bait-and-switch tactics with this program.  Until the dust settles a
bit and there's a comparison chart on these various plans, it seems a
bit of a gamble which may offer the best value.  There's also a
movement afoot to allow patients to switch plans in 2004 without
penalty.  As drug prices escalate and without fixed pricing in place,
some say those increases will offset any savings, thus rendering this
discount card completely worthless.  I hope that's only cynicism

Family USA

RxAssist (no enrollment or annual fees)


Benefits Checkup

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