Medicare Prescription Drug Card benefit

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Nurses Corner

Although I am a home care clinician, my patients and their families often expect me to be a Medicare policy expert, too. During recent patient visits I`ve been asked a variety of questions about the new Prescription Drug Card benefit. I don`t feel that I have the knowledge to assist my patients, and I wonder if I should even be involved in this decision?

Patients often expect from us more than medical care, they look to us for all sorts of guidance and information. I understand that new Medicare benefit programs can be complicated, not only to our patients and their families, but to professional caregivers too. At times it does seem that it would be easier to put our heads in the sand and avoid this difficult topic. But I view it as part of our mission to help our patients increase their access to the medicines they need.

You may want to be sure you can handle some basic questions yourself, while referring more complicated questions to Medicare. I know that I keep hearing many of the same questions, such as:

  • How do I apply for a drug card?
  • Which card is best for me?
  • Can I receive the $600 subsidy that Medicare is offering to low-income people?
  • Can I get a Medicare Drug card if I have a Medicaid?

Direct your low-income patients to apply for the $600 Medicare prescription subsidy that provide them with some financial relief. Many drug companies like Pfizer also have their own programs to provide seniors and low-income patients with even more subsidies and price discounts.

So, while you may not want to make the ultimate decision by choosing a drug card for your patients, you should leave them with 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or if they have access to a computer, they can go to and find answers to many questions as well as enrollment forms.

Help is available to answer you and your patients' questions. VNAA is currently offering a Medicare drug card training program with CE credits for RN participants. Just go to the Rx Training site for information you can download for yourself or your patients.

Send us your questions - clinical, operational, educational, practical - and we`ll do our best to find the answers that will make your delivery of care more comprehensive. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected] and we`ll do our best to find you an answer.


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