Washington Post Examines Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
The Washington Post on Tuesday examined the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and some issues related to the launch of the program. According to the Post, Medicare beneficiaries must decide whether to enroll in the prescription drug benefit, and those who do enroll must decide which plan "best suits their needs and their budget." However, the Medicare prescription drug benefit is "so big and complex -- and its costs and benefits so hard to forecast for individual consumers -- that supporters are spending millions to explain it and convince seniors to sign up," the Post reports.
Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in the prescription drug benefit will have the ability to select from a number of plans in each region of the U.S., and the "abundance of options" could lead to confusion, the Post reports. Detailed information on the benefits offered by Medicare prescription drug plans will not become available until Oct. 1, when plan providers can begin promotional campaigns.
In the meantime, CMS, pharmacies, health insurers and not-for-profit organizations have conducted campaigns to educate Medicare beneficiaries about the prescription drug benefit. Enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug benefit will begin on Nov. 15, and benefits will begin on Jan. 1, 2006 (Graham, Washington Post, 9/27).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.