November Is Senior Drug Coverage Awareness Month
The annual election period for Medicare Part D is rapidly approaching, yet many eligible Americans still lack basic knowledge about the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and available coverage plans. In fact, according to a four-part study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, numerous eligible Americans are confused over plan features and differences, fearful of the consequences of changing plans and unable to define key terms such as co-payment, premium and coverage gap. To help educate and address these challenges, November has been declared Senior Drug Coverage Awareness Month.
Anyone 65 years of age or older, or anyone caring for someone in this age group, is encouraged to schedule an appointment with his or her local community pharmacist during the month of November. The pharmacist can answer questions and provide valuable education on the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, and help explore available plan options, ultimately preparing beneficiaries to make informed choices during the 2009 Medicare Part D annual election period.
"Choosing the appropriate plan can depend on a variety of factors, including the overall health of the individual, the prescription drugs they have been prescribed and of course, cost," says Sam Rajan, R.Ph., a registered pharmacist and vice president of Clinical Operations with Universal American, the company that offers the Community CCRx(SM) Medicare Part D plan. "It's important for seniors to know what is available to them, and a community pharmacist is a knowledgeable, unbiased source to provide that information."
Annual election for stand-alone Medicare prescription drug coverage begins November 15, 2008, and ends December 31, 2008. Eligible beneficiaries must select and enroll in a plan by the December 31 deadline to receive coverage in 2009 and avoid paying late enrollment penalties. One important note: those already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan -- who wish to remain within that same plan -- do not need to re-enroll.