CMS Administrator Discusses Drug Benefit in Sacramento
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan on Tuesday appeared at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento with about 40 state leaders, advocates for the elderly and health professionals to discuss the Medicare drug benefit, the Sacramento Bee reports. Enrollment is set to begin Nov. 15, and coverage begins Jan. 1, 2006.
McClellan said there is enough time to educate beneficiaries about the biggest change in the 40-year history of Medicare. McClellan said, "You can get the coverage you want for a lot lower cost," adding, "If you like the coverage you've got, keep it."
All Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible to enroll in either a stand-alone prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plans, managed care plans that include prescription drug coverage.
A recent analysis by the California HealthCare Foundation found that 47 stand-alone drug plans are available statewide (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 10/19).
No public meetings currently are scheduled in Stanislaus County about the Medicare drug benefit, the Modesto Bee reports.
However, Frank Dotson, director of the county's Health Insurance Counseling and Advisory Program office, said he has been speaking to groups about the drug benefit.
After Nov. 1, the county HICAP office will offer counseling on drug plans by appointment. The agency also is trying to open a counseling site to serve the West Side (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 10/18).
The CHCF report is available online.
Additional information about the Medicare drug benefit also is available online.