Medicare Beneficiaries In Tennessee Not Enrolled In Drug Benefit

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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About 133,000 Tennessee Medicare beneficiaries have not signed up for the program's prescription drug benefit even though they have no other drug coverage, the Tennessean reports.

Tennessee residents can choose from between 49 stand-alone Medicare drug plans and 104 privately-operated Medicare Advantage health plans that offer drug coverage. Monthly premiums for stand-alone policies range from $17.60 to $100.70, according to CMS.

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Reasons for not enrolling include not being able to afford the premiums, confusion or not knowing about the program or having too few prescriptions to justify the cost of a drug plan, according to the Tennessean. However, experts note that those choosing to go without drug coverage would face a late-enrollment penalty if they choose to enroll later. Eligible beneficiaries who did not enroll when the drug benefit was implemented or who delayed signing up are charged a percentage of the national average premium for each month they are not signed up for a plan.

After 36 months, the penalty now stands at an additional $9.72 to $9.79 per month. Tennessee's State Health Insurance Assistance Program offers consultation about subsidies beneficiaries could be eligible for to cover part, or all, of their premium (Ward, Tennessean, 12/7).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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