Medicare now covers nearly 42 million beneficiaries who are elderly, or who have a severe disability or end stage renal disease. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 made many changes to the program – including the addition of an outpatient prescription drug benefit (“Part D”), which will become effective in January 2006. Understanding this new benefit is of paramount importance to the many people who advise senior citizens, and to millions of Medicare beneficaries who will be scrutinizing different prescription drug plans available in their area.
What are the basics of the new Medicare drug benefit design? How many drug plans are in your state and district? Which Medicare managed care plans offer pharmaceutical benefits? What kind of advice should you give a beneficiary who is calling to get help and advice?
To help answer these questions and more, the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation held a November 7 luncheon briefing especially for congressional staff, including district and state staff, but also of interest to others. Panelists were: Tricia Neuman, vice president and director of the Foundation’s Medicare Policy Project; Jack Vogelsong, director of Pennsylvania’s State Health Insurance and Assistance Program, which provides information and advice on these topics; Beatrice Disman, New York regional commissioner and chair of the Medicare Planning and Implementation Task Force for the Social Security Administration; and Julie Goon, director of Medicare outreach at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ed Howard from the Alliance moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)