As part of the new Medicare Law Congress created a prescription drug card which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is implementing only in 2004 and 2005.
The following are some of its characteristics:

The card began in late Spring 2004, and will be good thru 2005.

Cost can be up to $30.00 a year.
There is no minimum required but it is estimated to be around 10-15%. Beneficiaries will pay the rest (85-90%).

Those with income below $12,123 per year will have a 5% co-pay.

Beneficiaries may be able to choose among two or more cards, but can only have one card at a time.

Coverage will not be uniform. Formularies can change as much as weekly, as can the prices of drugs.

This will be limited to private insurance companies (Medicare is prohibited from offering coverage).
Those companies have submitted bids to the Federal Government and the winners have signed up pharmacies.

28 organizations are alowed to sponsor the cards. 49 cards are available nationwide.Some organizations have more than one card available. Massachusetts residents will have one card available by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts along with 30 other nationwide cards.

All cards will be available until 2006 when the new Medicare Prescription Law goes into effect. anyone can have only one card at one time but can change cards once.



Some people have been contacting elders and telling them they are selling a Medicare approved prescription drug card. Some are asking for a social security number.

Do not provide a social security card number to anyone. Medicare does not ask for a social securuty card number as identification



* 1-800-medicare(633-4227)

* The fedeal government will mail a detailed guide to any who request it.

* A brief guide has been mailed to everyone who is a medicare beneficiary.

* The Social Security Administration has mailed a letter to any whose incomes are low and who may qualify for a $ 600 dollar credit for their medications.(The fedral government has recently decided to automatically enroll all eligible inidividuals as very few signed up).

* Non-Governmental Sources of Information:

1. The Commonwealth Fund (

There are many charts but not much interpretation .

2. The Kaiser Family Foundation(

This is highly detailed - often in small print - and with much information.

3. The Medicare Rights Center(

This is a question and answer format(FAQs). Click on a specific question for a specific answer. Parts are in English and Spanish.

4. The SHINE Program(

Provides information about Medicare and other health related programs/services.