Medicare Drug Benefit

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) says now is the time for Medicare-eligible seniors and disabled persons to research which plan is right for them. There will be numerous plans available and differences will be seen in deductibles, co-payments and which medications are covered.

Sign-up for the voluntary new plan starts November 15 and goes until May 15, 2006. If you do not join by then, you won't be able to join until November 2006 and there will be penalties to pay for late sign-up.

Republicans say the important aspect of this new plan is that it will give access to thousands of seniors who have never had drug coverage before and will save them up to half of what they have been spending on prescriptions drugs.

For people with private insurance, they do not have to join Part D, but are encouraged to compare the plans to see if there are savings now or will be in the future compared to their current plan.

However, not everyone in Washington agrees the plan is the best way to cut drug costs. Democrats, including Senator Debbie Stabenow, say the plan does not allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices. She says in the end prices will not be as low as they can be. Still, Senator Stabenow urges low-income seniors to take advantage of the new option come January.

For more information, or for help choosing a plan, visit www.mymmap.org or call 1-800-803-7174.


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