Deadline Approaching for Medicare Drug Benefit Enrollment
About 55,000 eligible senior citizens in the San Joaquin Valley have not yet enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Fresno Bee reports. The deadline for most beneficiaries to enroll is May 15, after which beneficiaries will face financial penalties.
Health insurance counselors say that some beneficiaries still are confused about choosing a plan but that there are fewer problems now than when people dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal were automatically enrolled in the benefit earlier this year.
A class-action complaint has been filed in a Northern California federal court that claims "widespread confusion and problems and lack of access" have resulted from the plans for low-income seniors, the Bee reports.
Jack Cheevers, director of communications at the CMS office in San Francisco, said that waiting times at Medicare call centers are down and that "drugs seem to be flowing fairly smoothly through pharmacies to customers for the most part" (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 4/28).