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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Open enrollment begins today for the second year of the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit plan. Twenty million elderly receive the benefit. Despite some early grumbling the plan seems to be working for a lot of seniors. From the Health Desk at WGBH, Helen Palmer reports.
HELEN PALMER: Medicare officials say over 80 percent of seniors are satisfied with their drug benefit. Independent surveys have different figures though.
TODD COOPERMAN: Only 59 percent of the people who are reporting their satisfaction on our website are actually satisfied with the Medicare part D drug plans.
That’s Todd Cooperman of the website Medicaredrugplans.com. He says some seniors will switch plans, but they won’t drop Part D altogether
COOPERMAN: Most people do see a benefit to the program but they’re not that satisfied, or at least a good percentage of them are not that satisfied with the plans that they’re currently in.
Medicare officials say on average, seniors are saving $1,200 a year on prescription drugs. Combined savings could be as much as $19 billion.
And the benefit’s also a winning formula for health insurers and the pharmaceutical industry. The government will spend some $31 billion on the benefit this year, and analysts reckon the program’s pushed up drug company profits by 3 percent.
In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.
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