More than 7.4 million Medicare enrollees are expected to participate in the drug discount card programs, which launched in June 2004, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Of those, 4.7 million have annual incomes under 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)-an income of approximately $1,000 per month. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 established provisions for these beneficiaries that eliminates the deductible and lowers co-payment requirements. Beginning in June 2004, these beneficiaries, as identified by CMS, will be eligible to receive "transitional assistance," a $600 per year subsidy toward the purchase of pharmaceuticals, through the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card program.
Abbott Laboratories has expanded its existing, industry-leading Medicare Assistance Program (MAP) to provide supplemental coverage for qualified Medicare beneficiaries after they have exhausted their annual
$600 government subsidy. The comany's original MAP program was introduced in January 2003, offering its rheumatoid arthritis drug for free to Medicare-eligible seniors until a meaningful Medicare drug benefit was enacted. MAP received commendation from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, members of Congress, and physicians nationwide. Since its inception, the program provided $80 million in prescription savings, while benefiting thousands of Medicare beneficiaries who lack prescription drug coverage.
Under the expanded MAP program, the pharmaceutical company will assist Medicare beneficiaries who have incomes that are at or below 135 percent of the FPL to access Abbott's chronic care pharmaceuticals used by seniors. These prescription medications that treat thyroid, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological conditions will be offered to the neediest seniors who have exhausted their $600 credit for a flat fee of $5 and $12 monthly through the MAP and participating CMS-endorsed discount cards. These savings represent approximately 50 to 85 percent off the amount they usually pay for prescriptions at their pharmacy.
In addition to providing fixed prescription costs for low-income seniors, enrollees who exceed federal poverty level requirements but who use the CMS-approved discount cards, will also receive discounts on many of Abbott's medications.
"Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards will soon provide significant savings to American seniors on their prescription drug costs, especially to low-income seniors who need it most. I commend Abbott Laboratories and others who are providing even more savings as part of the drug card program," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said.
Abbott joins five other major pharmaceutical companies who also participate in similar programs nationwide and is part of the commitment being made by members of pharmaceutical industry in extending savings on important medicines via the CMS discount cards. This initiative will make it easier for those enrolled in Medicare to get the medicines they need.
Abbott's MAP will be honored in retail pharmacies nationwide. Retailers that accept the CMS discount cards will be the point of access for patients. To learn more, visit www.medicare.gov.
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