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November 19, 2008 > Medicare open enrollment

Medicare open enrollment

Submitted By Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

Seniors eligible for Medicare can sign up for prescription drug coverage or change their existing plan. Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, is urging seniors to jump at this opportunity to sign up or switch.

"Qualified seniors should not delay," said Pitts. "With hundreds of private plans competing to provide the best deals, Medicare Part D has more options and better coverage than ever before. That's really healthcare choice we can believe in."

Most public health programs are funded and managed by the government. Part D is different because it's administered by private insurance companies. In other words, taxpayer dollars operate as a subsidy, but then seniors are allowed to select the drug benefit that best suits their needs.

"According to a recent Harris Interactive Poll, an overwhelming 87 percent of Part D enrollees are happy with the program," continued Pitts. "This makes sense. By leveraging market forces, Part D has both lowered costs and increased choices for seniors."

In fact, the program has reduced out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for the average enrollee by 17 percent, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. And the projected cost of Part D to taxpayers over the next decade has dropped $117 billion since last summer -- from $915 billion to $798 billion.

Pitts did have some words of caution: "Some plans -- especially the more popular ones - will be more expensive in 2009, so even seniors who are pleased with their existing drug coverage should examine their options."

About CMPI
The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization that seeks to foster debate and discussion on health issues by demonstrating how technological progress coupled with smart public policy will enhance and advance 21st-century health care.

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