Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Medicare Part D enrollment, take two

Helen Palmer Nov 15, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Medicare Part D enrollment, take two

Helen Palmer Nov 15, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

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.

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.