HHS Launches Medicare Beneficiary Education Campaign
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday announced a new $25 million annual Medicare education campaign to help beneficiaries nationwide "get answers to their questions and make informed decisions about their health plans." HHS launched the campaign, which includes new advertisements that began to air this week on network television, in conjunction with the annual health plan enrollment period for beneficiaries that begins in mid-November. The ads include information on "important coverage options" for beneficiaries -- such as new preferred provider organizations available in 23 states -- and Medicare's improved information resources, such as the new 2003 "Medicare & You" handbook, expanded hours for the toll-free hotline and new "decision tools" on the Medicare Web site. Thompson said, "We want to make sure that Medicare beneficiaries know where to get help or information when they need it. The ads will point beneficiaries to reliable, accurate information available 24 hours a day, seven days a week." CMS Administrator Tom Scully said, "This year's ads try to focus beneficiaries and their families on the fact that Medicare can help them quickly narrow down the right health care options for them." In addition to a series of three English-language ads, HHS produced a separate ad for Spanish-language television networks. The Spanish-language campaign also will include radio ads in select markets, as well as print ads in a national magazine (HHS release, 10/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.