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Using those Medicare drug discount cards

Tuesday was the first day seniors can use their drug discount cards, but not many have signed up. In Oklahoma, only one in ten.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells says despite the low numbers there is still plenty of confusion.

Clerk: “Just push the green button, it'll go thru on your credit." The Medicare drug discount card is just the opening act of an overhaul of the entire Medicare system that takes effect in 2006. It offers varying discounts to different income groups and it's not available at all if seniors don't sign up for it, there's plenty of head scratching.

Steve Chase, Mays Drug pharmacy supervisor: "It's the first day and yes there's lots of confusion and lots of questions." Confused senior: "I've heard rumors the new law isn't good for seniors. I haven't had a chance to go over it yet. I do know a lot of companies are issuing them and it's hard to know which card is best to use." That's true more than 70 companies have been approved to market discount cards.

The cost is $30 per year and it could reduce the price of certain drugs from certain pharmacies anywhere from 10% to 25%. Here's a big plus low-income seniors are eligible for a free card and a $600 annual credit toward their prescriptions. About 7 million people fall into that category.

The experts tell us most people will get some benefit from the program, but it is early and folks are being cautious. Steve Chase: "This is gonna provide a great benefit to a great many people, and I think we can all stand to be a little patient with the process."

Clerk: "Thank you sir. See you next time, here's your medications."
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