Brooklyn- Seniors who did not sign up for a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, or those who want to change plans, have an opportunity to do so penalty free during the six week period which began Nov. 15th and continues through Dec. 31st.
This period is an "open enrollment window" during which seniors and disabled can take another look at their drug coverage, and change it if they want to. People who are satisfied with their current plan will be automatically re-enrolled unless they want to make a change. But Medicare officials recommend that beneficiaries explore any changes being proposed in their plans.
There are 2.8 million Medicare beneficiaries in New York, and Brooklyn has one of the highest populations of seniors in the State. According to Medicare officials, there are 61 prescription drug plans available to residents of Brooklyn. A summary of the plans is available at http://www.medicare.gov/MPDPF/Public/Include/DataSection/Results/ListPlanByState.asp#PDP
Senator Marty Golden, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee stated, "It is my hope to make seniors aware of the options that exist with their prescription drug plans offered through Medicare Part D. We are at a period of evaluation where we have to individually, as an older American, see if the plan we are currently registered for is working best for us, and make the necessary alterations if it is not. And for those who did not sign up, there is a tremendous cost savings and the plan is benefiting many of your fellow seniors, so why not you?"
For 2007, some plans have changed and the monetary amounts for deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses have changed. There are several new plans which will cover the cost of generic medications through the coverage gap.
Federal officials have estimated that enrollees in Medicaid drug plans on average saved on average about $1,100 on medicine this year. They also estimate that about 90% of Medicare beneficiaries now have drug coverage. That compares with about 60 percent of beneficiaries who had coverage before the program began.
The federal Center for Medicare Services is adding a new consumer tool today focusing on plan performance. Medicare Part D Plan Performance metrics for 2006 are now posted on the Plan Finder website. Consumers are able to see how plans are rated along with specific data on how they performed on the following areas of customer service, including: telephone customer service, complaints, appeals, and sharing information with pharmacists.
While beneficiaries have until December 31 to change or choose, Center for Medicare Services officials encourage those who plan to make changes or join to do so early—optimally by December 8—to avoid any delay or inconvenience in accessing their coverage in January.
Any other with further questions or that may require additional information can contact Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044 or at (718) 627-3659.