STATEMENT OF MARK B. MCCLELLAN, M.D., PH.D., ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES
ON DRUG COMPANIES OFFERING ADDITIONAL SUPPORT TO CERTAIN MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES
Starting next month, Medicare beneficiaries who need the most help will be able to enroll in the Medicare-endorsed drug discount card program and also receive a $600 credit this year and again next year. We are pleased that Novartis has taken a positive step to add support to this critically needed assistance by providing its prescription drugs for a small fee for beneficiaries who use up their $600. Merck recently announced a similar program that would add to the new drug assistance for low-income beneficiaries, and we hope and expect that other companies will offer similar add-on assistance programs.
This additional assistance means that it is even more important for beneficiaries with limited incomes who need help with drug costs to sign up for a Medicare-endorsed discount card next month.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its partners are reaching out to the older Americans and people with disabilities who have incomes below $12,569 or married couples below $16,862 to make sure they take advantage of these valuable programs. Medicare’s toll free hotline, 1-800-MEDICARE, and website, www.medicare.gov, are one-stop shops for people to learn how they can take advantage of the new $600 credit, as well as state assistance programs in 20 states and over 100 manufacturer programs. All of these steps amount to the best opportunities ever provided for seniors and persons with disabilities who have the most difficulty paying for drugs to get relief right away.