Seniors Will Need Help Registering for Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, HHS OIG Report Says
Millions of seniors and disabled people likely will need help enrolling in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to a report by the HHS Office of Inspector General, the Washington Post reports. Federal researchers surveyed beneficiaries who had registered for prescription drug discount cards during the past year (Washington Post, 11/10). The discount card program, created under the 2003 Medicare law, was designed to provide temporary prescription drug coverage to beneficiaries until the full Medicare drug benefit begins in 2006 (California Healthline, 9/22/04).
According to the report, more than "one-third of enrolled beneficiaries needed help enrolling in a drug card, and drug plan enrollment will likely be more complicated." OIG said that most beneficiaries knew about the cards and how to get information, but only one-fifth of beneficiaries had contacted an information source without assistance. The report recommended that the government expand efforts to provide assistance for enrolling in the program (Washington Post, 11/10). The report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to view the report.