Missouri offering prescription savings; seniors saving up to $5,000

Seniors who want to save money on their prescription drugs can enroll in the Missouri Senior Rx Program now through Feb. 28.

The 4-year-old state drug program helps limited-income seniors pay for prescription drugs.

It pays 60 percent of prescription costs after eligible seniors meet a deductible and pay an annual enrollment fee of $25 or $35, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Participating seniors can save up to $5,000 per person per year, the news re-lease stated.

“Over 17,000 Missouri seniors are currently benefiting from this program, but we know there are thousands more who could use relief from the high cost of their prescription medications,” Jerry Simon, interim executive director of the Missouri Senior Rx Program, stated in the release.

To qualify, an individual must be 65 or older with an annual income of no more than $17,000 or $23,000 for a married couple. Seniors cannot receive veterans’ pharmacy benefits, be enrolled in Medicaid or have other prescription drug insurance that is equal to or greater than the Missouri Senior Rx Program to be eligible.

More than 1,100 pharmacies across the state participate in the program, which carries thousands of generic and name-brand medications.

“We hope seniors won’t confuse our program with the new Medicare prescription drug plan,” Simon stated. “The federal Med-icare plan won’t go into effect until 2006, and Missouri seniors can enroll in Mis-souri Senior Rx now and start seeing the benefits this year.”

While participating seniors can save up to $5,000 per year, estimates indicate the average senior will save $800 annually on his or her prescription drugs by participating in the Missouri Senior Rx Program, the news release stated.

Individuals who turn 65 outside of the Jan. 1 to Feb. 28 enrollment period may apply 30 days before or after their birthday.

Benefits for the 2005 plan begin July 1.

Applications are available at participating pharmacies, local Area Agencies on Aging, community action agencies, federally qualified health centers and li-braries.

For more information or to request an application, contact the Missouri Senior Rx Program toll-free at (800) 375-1406 or visit the Missouri Senior Rx Web site at www.dhss.mo.gov/MoSeniorRx.