Sacramento Bee Looks at Start of Marketing for New Medicare Rx Benefit
The Sacramento Bee on Friday examined how California residents beginning Saturday will be "inundated with letters, telephone calls and splashy brochures at their pharmacy about" the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which begins Jan. 1, 2006.
Enrollment in the benefit will last from Nov. 15 to May 15, 2006, but companies offering the plans were restricted from marketing until Saturday "so that no plan will gain an unfair advantage," the Bee reports.
In California, competition has driven the average monthly premium for a drug plan to $25 -- the lowest in the nation -- and about six plans will have premiums of less than $20 per month.
Senior and consumer advocates have urged those eligible for the benefit "to take their time, evaluate any current coverage, save all letters, look over plans available where they live and, if they wish, consult with adult children or the [Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program] before signing up," the Bee reports (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 9/30).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday reported on the potential for illegitimate calls to Medicare beneficiaries about the new prescription drug plan. The segment includes comments from Bonnie Burns, training and policy specialist at California Health Advocates (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 9/29). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.