Open Enrollment Period for the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Begins



More Than 174,000 Georgia seniors are eligible for coverage, but not enrolled. New research shows 9 in 10 seniors in Medicare Part D program are satisfied with coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The annual open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D prescription drug program begins on November 15, 2008, and recent estimates indicate that more than 174,000 of Georgia seniors are eligible for the program, but remain un-enrolled. Nationwide, as many as 6.6 million, or 15 percent of eligible seniors are without prescription drug coverage.

Extending November 15 – December 31, 2008, the enrollment period provides an opportunity for those Georgia Medicare beneficiaries and others across the country who have not yet taken advantage of the program to do so. It also provides a timely opportunity for those who are enrolled to reevaluate their current plan and make a change, if appropriate.

N

ew public opinion

research released by Medicare Today shows that just two in 10 enrollees are ‘likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to shop around and compare Medicare plans this year. More than half (56 percent) of those enrolled say they are ‘not at all likely’ to do so. Conducted by KRC Research in Washington, DC, the survey also finds that 9 in 10 seniors are ‘satisfied’ with their Medicare prescription drug coverage, with 63 percent reporting that they are ‘very satisfied.’

“Even individuals who have been pleased with their coverage so far should take advantage of this time to review and evaluate their current plan,” said Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, which is coordinating Medicare Today’s efforts. “Plans and costs change, as do the prescription needs of seniors as they age. What may have been the best plan for someone a year ago, may no longer be the option that provides the best drug coverage at the best price. We encourage people to take advantage of the consumer choice that is one of the strengths of this program.”

In Georgia, approximately 1.1 million individuals are eligible to enroll in the Part D program, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Management Information Integrated Repository (MIIR). Of that number, approximately 950,000 have prescription drug coverage – either through the Medicare Part D program, an employer or former employer or other source. That leaves more than 174,000 Georgia Medicare beneficiaries who are without prescription drug coverage, yet don’t have to be.

Prior to the introduction of the Medicare Part D program in January 2006, millions of Medicare beneficiaries lacked coverage for their prescription medicines. Today, 39 million of America’s 44 million beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage – with more than 25 million enrolled in the Medicare Part D program.

“During the country’s current economic crisis, many seniors are cutting back and watching their spending more than ever,” said Grealy. “The last thing that any senior should have to face is the choice between paying for prescription medications and paying the heating bill this winter. That’s why this benefit is so important.”

Medicare Today, a national partnership of more than 400 national and regional organizations committed to providing seniors with resources and support to evaluate and enroll in one of the prescription drug plans.


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