If you have Medicare or are eligible for Medicare

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Website: www.medicare.gov
Toll-free number: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). English- and Spanish-speaking staff are available at this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Medicare is the United States’ health insurance program for people age 65 or older, although certain younger people with disabilities might also qualify.

This federal government website can help you sign up for Medicare (if you’re 65 or older) and choose the right Medicare-approved prescription drug plan (called the Part D plan) based on where you live, your income, and the drugs you take. You can join a Part D plan during open enrollment if you already have Medicare Part A and/or Part B. If you had prescription coverage and recently lost it, you may be able to enroll at times other than open enrollment. Contact Medicare or check online to see if you can do this.

You may qualify for “Extra Help” if you have very limited income and assets but don’t get Medicaid. If you qualify for Extra Help, you may not have to pay a premium, deductible, or co-payments for Medicare Part D. You can apply or get more information about this by calling Social Security (see the “ To learn more” section). Some people automatically get Extra Help and don’t need to apply, such as those who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or those who already have full Medicaid and Medicare.

If you’re enrolled in a state pharmacy assistance program, including Medicaid, you will probably also be enrolled in Medicare Part D. If you have prescription drug coverage through your current health insurance or get discounts on your prescriptions through other programs, review your coverage closely to see if the Medicare drug plan will save you more money on your prescriptions.

If you don’t qualify for Extra Help, Medicare also keeps a list of drugs that are on private prescription drug assistance plans. You can find the list on their website at www.medicare.gov/pharmaceutical-assistance-program/index.aspx. You can search by the drug name and find details on the programs and their contact information.

You can learn more details about the Medicare Part D drug plans and how to choose one in our document called Medicare Part D: Things People With Cancer May Want To Know. You can read it on our website, or call us to have a free copy mailed to you.

Medicare Access for Patients Rx

Website: www.maprx.info

Medicare Access for Patients Rx, called MAPRx, links you to information about Medicare Part D, also called the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. It answers common questions about Medicare Part D, and has a state-by-state listing of other possible resources and programs.

MAPRx does not directly serve Medicare recipients, but it’s a good, easy-to-use source of information about Medicare and drug coverage. Free fact sheets can be downloaded from the website or from related website links.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: October 28, 2014 Last Revised: November 13, 2014

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