The new Medicare drug discount cards will save seniors a whopping $6.4 billion, according to a study commissioned by The Business Roundtable.

For the full drug benefit that begins in January 2006, BRT estimates seniors will save another $17.7 billion in the first year alone. And these estimates are conservative.

The BRT provides a nice online tool to view state-by-state breakdowns of the savings.

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An expert on Medicaid, Medicare, and health reform, Kip Piper, MA, FACHE, is a consultant, speaker, and writer. Kip Piper advises health plans, hospitals and health systems, state Medicaid agencies, life sciences firms, healthcare associations, and investment firms. With 30 years’ experience, Kip is a senior consultant with Sellers Dorsey, top specialists in Medicaid finance and policy. Kip is also CEO of Medonomics, Inc.a nonprofit research organization dedicated to improving healthcare value and decision making, and president of the Health Results Group, LLC, strategic advisory firm. For more, visit Follow on Twitter @KipPiper, Google +, Facebook and connect on LinkedIn.