2013 Open Enrollment Coming to a Close, But Part D Should Remain Top-of-Mind

2013 Open Enrollment Coming to a Close, But Part D Should Remain Top-of-Mind

12.07.12 | By

Below is the latest guest post in our "Part D Perspectives" series, which we'll be hosting throughout the year to share thoughts on the program and its importance.

Mary Grealy, President of the Healthcare Leadership Council, recaps some important lessons on Medicare Part D to keep in mind as we move into the New Year.

As we reach the end of the Medicare Part D open enrollment period for 2013, speaking with Part D enrollees and with organizations that work closely with Medicare beneficiaries have left us with a couple of important lessons we need to keep in mind as we look to the future.

First, it is important that Part D beneficiaries take full advantage of the power of consumer choice offered to them by this successful and highly popular program. Over the next year, those enrolled in Part D plans (and the family members and friends who can lend a hand with this) should keep a record of prescribed medications and diagnosed health conditions so that, come the next open enrollment period in 2013, they are well equipped to choose the Part D plan that provides the best and most affordable coverage. Individuals need to take an active role in protecting and improving their own health.

That active role extends to speaking out to ensure the continuing effectiveness of a program that provides an essential service to so many. There is always the possibility that Congress may take action that could adversely affect Part D participants, significantly changing the structure and operation of a program that uses consumer choice and competition to keep pharmaceutical coverage accessible and affordable. We need to exercise our rights as citizens, taxpayers and current and future Medicare beneficiaries to keep this valuable program intact.

The facts are indisputable. Part D is coming in 43 percent - or $435 billion - lower than initial projections. The consumer choice model, with multiple plans competing on price and value, had resulted in average Part D monthly premiums staying at approximately $30, as they will be in 2013, for three consecutive years. It's not surprising that a Medicare Today survey has shown that 90 percent of seniors participating in the Part D program are satisfied with their coverage.

With so much positive news surrounding Medicare Part D, it's difficult to imagine the program being diminished. After all, as the Medicare Today survey also pointed out, 53 percent of seniors would be more likely to cut back their medications or stop taking them altogether if they didn't have this coverage. These are facts that need to be continually pointed out to our elected representatives so that his prime example of a well-run, cost-effective federal program continues to serve the American people for many years to come.

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