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Medicare Open Enrollment Underway

Monday, November 20, 2006 at 12:28 PM

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Open enrollment is underway for Medicare's prescription drug plans. Millions of elderly and disabled Americans have until the end of the year to enroll in Medicare Part D. ideastream's Elaine Falk has more.

Last year’s signup was criticized because of clogged phone lines and too many confusing drug plans. But Medicare officials say now that the plan is underway, it’s working, and people are saving money. Senior advocates say even if you’re enrolled and happy with your plan, this is the time to verify that the drug list or premium cost hasn’t changed, since many plans are changing in 2007.

Semanthie Brooks is the Director of Community Advocacy at the Benjamin Rose Institute, a non-profit health and social service agency. She agrees that seniors are benefiting, but fears an increasing number of plans will cause more confusion.

Semanthie Brooks: I think we were all hoping the plans would be reduced for 2007. Well, they were not. So now seniors in Ohio have approximately a 100 (laughs) different plans that they have to look at and determine, try to determine, what is better for them. So instead of becoming easier it’s has become more difficult.

The six-week enrollment period ends December 31st, but Medicare officials are encouraging people to sign up soon, to avoid any lapses or delays in drug coverage in January. Elaine Falk, 90.3.

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