MEDICARE: Seniors Receive Price Break on Prescriptions
A new state law that allows more than 1.3 million California Medicare beneficiaries to knock between 20% and 40% off their prescription drug costs is getting rave reviews from the Stockton Record. The law, which requires neither new paperwork nor new funds, allows Medicare recipients without drug coverage to purchase prescriptions at the same prices paid by Medi-Cal recipients. The legislation mandates that pharmacists give Medi-Cal prices -- cost plus about 10% -- to card-carrying Medicare members who present valid prescriptions. State Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco), the bill's sponsor, says that the measure not only saves money, but may also save lives. As AARP legislative representative Patrick Luby put it, "A lot of people just throw the prescription away simply because they can't afford it, and obviously that has disastrous health consequences in some cases." Speier estimates that some seniors may save "$120 per month or more" under the new law, which has no restrictive drug formulary. Pharmacists are happy too, as they expect the increased access will bring an influx of new paying customers "who will spend money elsewhere in the drug store" (Spence, 10/4).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.