The Center for Medicare Advocacy Applauds HHS for Making It Simpler for Medicare Beneficiaries to Choose A Drug Plan in 2011

October 7, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Judith Stein, (860) 456-7790
jstein@medicareadvocacy.orgVicki Gottlich, (202) 293-5760
vgottlich@medicareadvocacy.org

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., a national, non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of older people and people with disabilities, joins other aging organizations today in thanking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for making it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to choose a Medicare prescription drug plan.  The 14 organizations sent a letter to the Secretary thanking her for improving and clarifying drug plan options by ensuring that plans offered by the same insurance company have meaningful differences that allow beneficiaries to make an informed choice about their coverage for 2011.

“Research indicates that when people have too many options they cannot effectively choose the best option for them, even when the choices are not as complicated as selecting a drug plan,” explained Judith Stein, Executive Director.  “The benefit structure – deductibles, formulary, costs for drug, requirements to get a needed drug – can be more important than the premium for the drug plan.  The Secretary’s actions will allow beneficiaries to determine and understand the drug plan benefit structures that are available to them.”

Even with the reduction in the number of plans available to them, beneficiaries will still have, on average, 33 drug plans from which to choose.

“Regardless of the number of plans available, every beneficiary must review the coverage he or she had for 2010 and compare that coverage with all of the offerings for 2011.  A plan that worked for someone in 2010 may not be the best choice in 2011 if that plan no longer covers the person’s drug or added restrictions to the coverage,” reminds Vicki Gottlich, Senior Policy Attorney.

Both Ms. Stein and Ms. Gottlich are available for comment.  The full text of the letter to HHS is available at:
www.medicareadvocacy.org\InfoByTopic\PartDandPrescDrugs\10_10.07.SebeliusLetter.pdf