MY HEALTH. MY MEDICARE FALL CAMPAIGN DEBUTS WILL SUPPORT PREVENTION AND PERSONALIZED COVERAGE IN MEDICARE
Building upon the success of the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan today kicked off the “My Health. My Medicare” Fall campaign. This initiative also introduces new tools to assist beneficiaries in the new Part D enrollment period, which begins November 15.
“In just two years, Medicare has undergone unprecedented improvements in benefits, including the addition of prescription drug coverage and new and updated preventive care,” said Secretary Leavitt. “Equally important and thanks to our tens of thousands of dedicated partners, Medicare now has a substantial grassroots support network. With their help, we’ll be putting a greater emphasis on prevention through the My Health. My Medicare campaign. We’re going to work with people to help them make the most of their benefits – to stay healthier so they can spend less on doctors and hospitals, and even less on prescription drugs.”
The event today features partners that were and are vital to the success of the Medicare Part D enrollment drive, including the AARP, Medicare Today, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, and the Annapolis State Health Insurance Program.
“My Health.My Medicare is the next step in helping the 43 million Americans with Medicare make the most of their benefits, so they can stay healthier and spend less on their medical care,” said Dr. McClellan. “By providing personalized assistance – online, on the phone and in person, with the help of partners all across the country -- we can help beneficiaries and their families make informed and confident choices about their health and Medicare coverage.”
“Getting affordable prescription drugs is important. It's also critical to underscore the importance of Medicare’s preventive benefits and their role in protecting people from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and Flu and pneumonia,” Dr. McClellan added.
Today’s event builds on the solid success of the past year’s enrollment efforts: more than 38 million Medicare beneficiaries, or 90 percent, now have some form of drug coverage. More than 3 million prescriptions are being filled every day, while saving people with Medicare drug plans an average of $1,200 a year. Program costs are 25 percent less than predicted last year. According to recent surveys, more than 80 percent of people in plans are satisfied with their coverage.
This Fall, Medicare beneficiaries who wish to change prescription drug plans will have six weeks, between November 15 and December 31, to enroll in a new plan. But CMS urges beneficiaries to sign up before December 8. This will ensure they have their new prescription drug card in hand to fill prescriptions in early January.
“Beneficiaries who are satisfied with their drug coverage can continue it in 2007,” added Dr. McClellan. “But in 2007, because of strong competition, most beneficiaries will have options that cost less and that offer additional coverage, and we are providing enhanced support if they want to look at these options.”
To assist beneficiaries in making decisions about their Medicare benefits, the Fall campaign has been divided into the following segments:
- September is the time for beneficiaries to compare their health needs to the coverage they have and prepare questions about their coverage.
- October is whey they should evaluate benefits, using the one-page Medicare Checkup as a guide.
- November is the month to choose a new plan or change plans, if desired.
- December gives beneficiaries the opportunity to maximize their benefits, working with their doctor to develop a personalized plan for prevention.
“Vital to the success of this year’s Part D enrollment campaign was the participation of 40,000 partners who helped organize nearly 50,000 events in just six months, and our partners are vital to the success of My Health.My Medicare as well,” said Dr. McClellan. “Coupled with our personalized information resources, this network is transforming Medicare’s ability to help people use their coverage, stay healthier, and reduce their health care costs.”