Nevada Attorney General warns against drug card scams

Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval has reminded consumers to be alert with regard to scams related to the new Medicare prescription discount drug cards made available to consumers under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act.

The cards allow qualifying seniors to obtain discounts of 10 to 25 percent on medications. The prescription drug program took effect June 1, and providers began selling the discount cards the first week in May. There are about 70 different national and state plans operated by private companies that have been approved to offer the discount cards.

The federal government estimates that more than 7 million seniors are expected to enroll in the discount card program. According to Consumer Advocate Timothy Hay, “A huge number of potential first-time customers means the potential market for scam artists is enormous as well.”

Recently, some states have reported receiving complaints that low income seniors qualifying for financial assistance have been contacted by con artists and told they must provide personal banking information in order to place the promised $600 prescription drug credit into their accounts. Other complaints involve illegal use of government logos by discount card sellers who are not authorized to take part in the Medicare program.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, offer the following guidelines for your protection, and seniors should ask these questions before signing for a drug discount card:

  • Has the Medicare program approved this card? Check the information from the Medicare program – don't just rely on literature from the discount card provider.

  • Does this card cover the drugs I take?

  • Will the drugs covered by this card change? If so, how often?

  • How much will I save? To see how much you would save by using a particular Medicare card, list your monthly drug costs, and calculate the savings the card would offer on each drug.

  • Does the pharmacy where I shop accept this card? Ask your pharmacist – don't rely on literature from the discount card provider.

Individuals who believe they may have been the victim of Medicare Discount Card scam may contact the Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection at (775) 687-6300. Additional consumer protection information can also be found on the Attorney General’s web site at http://ag.state.nv.us.

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