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Finding help with prescription drugs

October 19, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

Choosing which drug card program is best depends on the prescription drugs a patient uses, where he lives and his monthly income, said Robert Zimmerman, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For help in finding and enrolling in the best program, he said Medicare recipients should contact their state Agency on Aging, call the Medicare help line at 800-MEDICAR (800-633-4227) or visit the Medicare Web site at www.medicare.gov.

Callers should have their ZIP codes, monthly income and prescriptions ready in order to decide which program is best, Zimmerman said.

Maryland also has programs available to help senior citizens curb health-care costs, including pharmacy assistance, according to Michelle Holzer, program officer for Maryland's Senior Health Assistance Program. Information is available from Katrina Eversole, program director at the Washington County Agency on Aging, at 301-790-0275, or the state office at 800-AGE DIAL (800-243-3425).

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In Maryland, 675,000 citizens are eligible for discount cards, Zimmerman said. Of those, 130,000 also are eligible for the $600 credit. The deadline for applying for that credit is Dec. 31.

Most discount card programs charge an enrollment fee of up to $30, unless the patient also qualifies for credit, he said.

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