The 15th of this month is the deadline for people to enroll in the initial open period for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Unless Congress changes the date, the next open period for enrolling in the plan will begin November 15. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about enrolling in Part D to act soon. This has proven to be a good program, and seniors who use prescription drugs certainly can benefit from participation.
According to figures compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 27 million Americans already have taken advantage of this program by signing up for Part D. While many seniors found the initial enrollment process somewhat daunting, the program itself has been successful.
Stories of seniors benefiting from the program haven’t been highlighted like the stories of initial enrollment problems people were experiencing. A recent Associated Press story underscores this idea. “Congressional supporters of the program worry that the problems that marked its beginnings have drowned out success stories...,” the story stated. A Part D enrollee, whose monthly prescription bill now falls between $10 and $15, down from her monthly payments of more than $100, is highlighted in the story. This senior estimated she’ll save almost $1,000 this year under the new prescription drug program.
Further evidence of the success of Part D is a survey released last month by the Medicare Rx Education Network. That survey found four in five participants in the Part D program are satisfied with their coverage, and nearly nine in 10 who received medicines through their new benefit said it worked well for them.
Are there some glitches with the program? Certainly. It’s impossible to roll out a program of this magnitude and not find some flaws. The enrollment process is certainly something we need to make easier for our seniors, but people who enroll in the program now have an option to get their much-needed drugs, and at the same time, they have more money in their bank accounts at the end of the month.
The fact is that this is a good program that’s doing exactly what was intended: providing an affordable way for senior citizens to access prescription drugs. IBI