Medicare Services office in New York City
Medicare Services office in New York City - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Seniors have just four days to change or reenroll in their Medicare Drug plan. That government subsidy is just a year old and it's been tricky for a lot of people. There's a new glitch to worry about. Helen Palmer reports from our Health Desk at WGBH.


HELEN PALMER: Private health insurers offering Medicare drug plans can change the premiums and what medications they cover once a year.

If they alter the plans, they have to send enrollees an official "Notice of Change" by October 31, but that didn't always happen this year.

JEFF NELLIGAN: Some beneficiaries were not notified of changes in their plans in a timely fashion.

Medicare official Jeff Nelligan says he's still trying to find out how widespread the problem is.

United Health Group provides drug coverage to 4.5 million seniors. Some 200,000 of them got belated notices due to mistakes in the first version printed.

The Medicare Rights Center's Deene Beebe says even seniors who got the notices didn't always understand them.

DEENE BEEBE: At times people really didn't know what the letter was all about.

Medicare's Jeff Nelligan says any senior who got a notice late will have 'til February 14 to change plans.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.