Most Medicare Beneficiaries Happy with Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

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While not everyone is happy with their health insurance coverage options, most Medicare beneficiaries who participate in the Part D Prescription Coverage are satisfied with the plan. Just about everyone who has Medicare Part D reports that they have greater peace of mind as a result.

In a survey conducted by KRC Research of 992 Medicare beneficiaries, of which 403 have Part D coverage, 95% report that their current plan works well with just about as many (94%) saying it is easy to use. Over 80% of Plan D participants say that the program offers good value, and 67% report a lowered prescription drug spending. Thirty-four percent state that they used to have to skip or reduce their prescription medicines in order to financially afford them, but now no longer have to do so.

“Medicare Part D has reached popularity levels that you seldom, if ever, see from a government program,” said Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council and co-chair of Medicare Today. “Over the last five years of satisfaction surveys, Part D has stayed consistently above an 80 percent approval rating. And given the fact that competition is keeping the program affordable – and that average premiums won’t increase in 2012 – satisfaction should stay very high.”

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There are two ways to obtain Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, sometimes called PDPs, add coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plans.

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Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage in combination with Part A and Part B coverage. These are often offered through independent insurance carriers.

The Medicare open enrollment period began earlier this year on October 15th, versus mid-November as in years past. This allows seniors the opportunity to shop around and compare competing plans for the best value for their individual needs. Unfortunately, however, two of every three seniors stated in the survey that they were unlikely to shop around. And many beneficiaries weren’t even aware that the enrollment period had opened early this year.

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Those who are late in enrolling may be charged a penalty fee which is calculated by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($32.34 in 2011) times the number of full, uncovered months a person was eligible but did not participate in a Medicare Part D plan.

Open enrollment for Medicare will continue through December 7th with coverage to start on January 1, 2012. Eligible individuals can get more information by visiting www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Medicare Today

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