March 22, 2005
By Joretta Purdue*
association of United Methodist caregivers is providing an efficient
link for low-income seniors to the current Medicare drug program.
link allows seniors to be enrolled in the program by church volunteers,
family members or any other person with Internet access.
whose income is no more than $12,569 if single ($16,862 for a married
couple) are eligible for a $600 credit toward their prescription drug
costs if they are enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B. The credit
will be reduced to $450 for those who are not enrolled by March 31. It
is available only to who do not have an insurance drug benefit.
The United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries has added software created by DestinationRx to its Web site, www.UMAssociation.org to provide enrollment for the drug credit. Enrollment is offered in cooperation with Medicare and discount drug card sponsors.
national association of United Methodist-related ministries and
professionals concerned about the quality of health care in a
faith-based setting is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. The association
announced a partnership with prescription drug and health discounter
DestinationRx in March 2004 to offer a free card with discounts of up to
50 percent on medicine and other supplies.
Anyone with a computer and Internet access can use the new link to enroll seniors in the program.
Adams, a service coordinator at a Department of Housing and Urban
Development facility in Blairsville, Ga., said enrolling a senior takes
10 to 15 minutes if the person who is operating the computer has already
registered as a volunteer. Initial registration can take another 10
minutes, she said.
Potential enrollees need to have the names and dosage of the medications
they take so the software can provide information about the specific
program that offers the largest discounts on their medicines. Seniors
will also need to provide accurate income information to qualify for the
The Rev. Mearle L. Griffith
is our intention to provide denomination-wide publicity so that every
congregation and each agency of the church can enroll eligible seniors
through our Web site,” said the Rev. Mearle Griffith, UMA president. He
believes the association is the only faith-based organization providing
online enrollment for the drug credit.
A survey by the
Kaiser Foundation indicated that more than 30 percent of seniors who
have heart failure, diabetes or high blood pressure but were without
drug insurance skipped doses. About half as many people who had such
coverage skipped doses.
anyone – regardless of age or income -- without insurance for their
medications, the UMA Web site offers comparison-shopping between the
many drug discount programs offered by manufacturers and pharmacies.
Enrollment for these cannot be completed online, but the information can
help consumers make an informed selection.
wonderful because it compares different programs -- different cards
side-by-side -- and it shows what pharmacy in the area carries that
specific program,” said Adams, who participated in a pilot program last
estimates that the association’s discount drug program, which has
existed for a year now, has saved 48,000 enrollees nearly $1.5 million,
or an average of 28 percent of the retail costs of their drugs.
People can obtain information about either the drug credit or discount drug programs by going to www.UMAssociation.org,
and clicking on the DestinationRx logo. Visitors then select choosing a
prescription discount card or registering as a volunteer to help
seniors enroll online for the drug credit.
*Purdue is a retired staff writer of United Methodist News Service.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.