Part D Perspectives: RetireSafe

Part D Perspectives: RetireSafe

10.24.12 | By

October 15 kicked-off the 2013 Medicare Part D open enrollment period, which runs through December 7. During this time, Medicare-eligible Americans over 65 and persons with disabilities can choose a new Part D plan that best fits their needs. Given the accessibility of tools and resources to help navigate this process, PhRMA recognizes the importance of providing helpful information and outside perspectives.

During Open Enrollment, the Catalyst will feature a weekly "Part D Perspectives" blog series to provide insights and perspectives to help those on Medicare learn more about Part D and how the program is having a positive impact on patients across the nation.

As the first post in this series, Thair Phillips, president of RetireSafe, has provided his thoughts on Part D below.

For 20 years, RetireSafe has been fighting to maintain benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for seniors. We believe the government should partner with the private sector to keep its promises to older Americans and we're working every day to ensure these programs are preserved.

Through market-based competition, Part D offers seniors a choice when it comes to their prescription drug coverage. Initially, naysayers didn't think older Americans could handle the process of choosing the right plan. However, we felt this really devalued the abilities of this great generation and at RetireSafe, we've worked very hard to be certain seniors could make their own decisions. Today, approximately 90 percent of seniors enrolled in the program are satisfied. Even in rural areas like Butte, Montana, where access to health care services can be limited, seniors can choose from 41 plans.

While choice is a good thing and a central element of Part D, it becomes increasingly important to educate participants. There is a natural tendency to let things stay the way they are if nothing is perceived to be wrong, and with such high satisfaction rates, few people are likely to take the time to reevaluate their options to ensure their current plan is still best. This is why we have helped educate and train participants on the open enrollment process since the program's inception in 2006, as well as encourage family members and caregivers to help older Americans take advantage of open enrollment and the opportunity to shop for the right plan that meets their needs.

We recommend seniors not only consider the price of the plan, but also look at the ratings on the Medicare website, which show how different plans have been rated on factors such as service, responsiveness and ease of use.

Above all, information is our greatest asset and helps us make better choices. This thriving generation is truly showing us how integral choice and competition will be for the future of health care. America's seniors and the 10,000 Baby Boomers who turn 65 every day will be better off as a result.

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