Senior Advocacy group concerned about Medicare Part D changes

In a recent online article in Spectrum online by Michael Piekarz, he points out the legitimate concerns of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a notable nationwide senior advocacy group, with regards to the new federal government policy on Medicare Part D enrollment and drug coverage changes.  The advocacy group argues the fact that many seniors are unaware and are unprepared to manage the higher costs of their Medicare coverage that will come starting Jan 1 of next year.  Furthermore, seniors are finding that they are automatically enrolled in the new plan even before 2010 comes to a close.  As a result, TSCL has called for an extension until March 2011 for seniors to have time to make appropriate decisions and plans in order to comprehend the changes that is coming their way regarding their drug coverage.  Piekarz summed up the advocacy groups concerns and the timing of the changes with the following main points:

  1. With seniors being automatically enrolled to the new plan without knowing specific information like higher costs and loss of coverage…some are finding the new plans would not cover their existing conditions in terms of the appropriate drug or medicine.
  2. Seniors are generally ill prepared to face the higher costs of premiums, while not getting enough time to comprehend relevant information regarding their drug coverage.
  3. Great resources are out there (Medicare.gov and its toll-free help line or services by the State Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) but the timing of enforcing this new plan was not in many seniors best interests.

In closing, not enough time was provided by the government to effectively sell the new changes with Medicare.  While Medicare remains a hot button issue, it is certainly important to re-evaluate the process when making changes to drug plans and coverages.

Credit: Spectrum Online.

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