DCBS Media Release
October 22, 2004
State offers help with Medicare drug card questions
Free help is available for Oregon Medicare beneficiaries who have questions about the new drug discount cards being mailed out this month.
Beneficiaries who receive state help to pay Medicare premiums are receiving discount cards from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The state Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program has staff and volunteers available to help Oregon beneficiaries determine if the discount card they receive meets their needs or if another card would be better.
Approximately 70,000 low-income Oregon beneficiaries may be eligible for $1,200 each to help pay for their prescription drugs over the next 14 months. They can begin using the discount card immediately to get savings on prescription drugs. Along with the card, they also will receive instructions on how to activate the $1,200 benefit if they qualify.
The cards were randomly assigned from several drug card sponsors. Beneficiaries have the option of accepting the card they received or choosing a different sponsor's card that may better match their prescription usage.
SHIBA, which is part of the Oregon Insurance Division, is strongly encouraging seniors to determine if the card they receive is the best card for them before activating it. Consumers who need assistance can call toll-free 1-800-722-4134 to receive help from trained volunteers with their Medicare and health insurance decisions.