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Medicare Part D enrollment, take two

Helen Palmer Nov 15, 2006
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Medicare Part D enrollment, take two

Helen Palmer Nov 15, 2006
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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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