HHS launches Medicare prescription site

The Health and Human Services Department today launched its new discount prescription site to let Medicare recipients sign up for discount cards and compare drug prices.

The www.Medicare.gov site for the first time lists industry drug prices, HHS secretary Tommy Thompson said today.

'If you tell us your ZIP code and your medicines, we will sort through information on about 60,000 drug products and nearly 50,000 pharmacies to find the best prices for your needs,' said Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of HHS' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The HHS agency has approved 40 national cards and 33 regional cards for Medicare beneficiaries (Click for GCN story).

The new cards will offer discounts of up to 25 percent. Low-income beneficiaries may also receive credits of up to $600 this year and next toward their prescription expenses.

Private organizations are offering the government-approved cards. Competition between card sponsors is expected to drive down drug prices, Thompson said.

'Industry is competing online for the business of millions of Medicare beneficiaries, and those beneficiaries have now pooled their purchasing power to demand the best price,' Thompson said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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