California HealthCare Foundation Releases Online Guide Providing Information on Rx Drug Discount Programs
The California HealthCare Foundation today released a new online guide that provides information comparing the prescription discount drug programs available for seniors in the state. The guide, titled "Prescription Drug Options for Seniors: A Comparative Guide," examines several elements of 11 discount drug programs including discount cards, online pharmacy options and state-mandated programs. Using the guide, seniors can find information on programs' eligibility requirements, costs and benefits. CHCF President and CEO Dr. Mark Smith said, "With so many new prescription discount programs cropping up, it's difficult to know which ones may actually save you money. This new information can help California seniors sort through the various discount programs and help them weigh the options, as they look for ways to reduce the costs of their prescriptions" (CHCF release, 6/4).
PBS' "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" last night looked at how seniors are turning to prescription drug discount cards to reduce their drug costs in the absence of a Medicare drug benefit. Over the past few months, a number of pharmaceutical companies have introduced discount cards, which for fees ranging from $15 to $100 per year offer varying levels of savings on their medications. While using multiple discount cards can help seniors realize substantial savings, it is an "enormously time-consuming" process, "NewsHour" reports. With Congress divided over how to design a Medicare drug benefit, the Bush administration last year decided to create its own discount card program, which would rely on the buying power of the Medicare's 39 million beneficiaries to produce discounts. But the plan has been stalled by a lawsuit from chain drugstores, which say the discount cards would cut into their profits (Dentzer, "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," 6/3). The drugstores claim that the administration did not have the authority to create the plan without congressional approval (California Healthline, 3/11). CMS Administrator Tom Scully is now lobbying Congress to create the discount program through legislation, which would allow the administration to implement the plan (Dentzer, "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," 6/3). A transcript of the segment, as well as audio, is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.