Part D Perspectives: Elder Care Advocacy of Florida

Part D Perspectives: Elder Care Advocacy of Florida

11.28.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

Below is the latest guest post in our "Part D Perspectives" series, which we'll be hosting during the 2013 Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 12 - Dec. 7).

Austin Curry, executive director of Elder Care Advocacy of Florida, shares his views on the importance of Part D and what we can to do ensure it continues to help eligible Florida residents:

Elder Care Advocacy of Florida is a volunteer organization committed to caring for our elders in their time of need. Our volunteers are retired executives and government workers, and because we are elders ourselves, we relate very well to the people we're speaking with. We go to great lengths to be non-partisan and non-political, and people respond because they know our organization is not about making money.

One of the many things we do is educate elders in the state about Part D. We have a good matrix of available Part D plans, and we meet with people one-on-one to review their options and ultimately advise them on the best possible plan. We try to help them save money and get good healthcare, which puts them that much further ahead. But helping people get further ahead could become increasingly difficult as both Medicare and Part D face significant cuts.

We have been confronted with a number of fiscal budget challenges, and as a result, I understand that the program needs to evolve over time, but any changes or improvements must be implemented in a studious and meticulous manner. Arbitrary changes would be detrimental to the individuals who depend on Part D. Drastic measures to reform or revitalize the program, including the imposition of Medicaid-style rebates, aren't necessary because it is already helping people and coming in under budget.

I was with Bob Dole when we launched Part D. It was a battle to implement when it started and again to keep it going because detractors have always downplayed its success. But the program works. It benefits the people and saves lives, and should be recognized as a best practice. I have seen first hand in Florida how it has helped seniors and persons with disabilities. They see the benefits it provides and encourage others to join.

In my view, Part D is working for those who need it most. The vast majority of participants is satisfied and would not be able to afford medications without it. We are facing unprecedented financial difficulties, but with the right changes, the program will remain a success and continue to help millions of seniors for years to come.

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