Governor Mike Easley has announced a new prescription drug assistance program for North Carolina senior citizens. The program, funded for 2 years with $24 million from the Health and Wellness Trust Fund, aims to help qualifying seniors pay some or all of their Medicare Part D premiums. It also hopes to encourage some of the estimated 240,000 eligible seniors in our state who have not signed up for Part D to help them navigate the federal drug program and its medication management program involving pharmacists identifying potentially adverse drug interaction.
Under the new federal Medicare Part D program, which began last January, North Carolina seniors can choose from a variety of prescription drug insurance plans. For 2007, there will be 51 plans offered to North Carolina seniors. To participate in Part D, seniors must select a plan and pay the monthly premium. Plan premiums range in cost, from $17.80 to $85.90 per month for 2007.
North Carolina Rx will help pay premiums for seniors with incomes up to 175 percent of the poverty level ($17,150 for an individual and $23,100 for married couples). The plan also increases the amount of assets seniors may have and still qualify for assistance to $20,000 for an individual and $30,000 for married couples. Qualifying seniors who are at least 65 years old and on Medicare will receive a credit of $18 per month to help pay their premium. Approximately 50,000 North Carolina low-income seniors are expected to sign up for this benefit.
A special web site, www.ncrx.gov and a toll-free hotline, 1-888-488-NCRX (6279), have been set up to provide information about the new North Carolina Rx program and coverage.
Also, Wal-Mart has announced that it is now selling generic prescription drugs for $4 in North Carolina. The plan, which covers generic, or non branded, drugs for a 30-day supply, is open to anyone with a valid doctor’s prescription. No insurance is required. Pharmacies in both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores will offer the low-cost prescriptions on 314 medications. To view a complete list(PDF File) of eligible medications, go to: www.walmart.com/pharmacy. Target stores will match the $4 Wal-Mart prescriptions and Kmart is offering 184 generics for $15 for a 90-day supply.