Poll: Less than half of elderly to enroll in drug plan by May

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Less than half of seniors eligible for the Medicare prescription drug benefit have enrolled or plan to enroll by the May 15 deadline, according to a new poll.

Just 45% of eligible seniors have enrolled in the Medicare benefit or plan to enroll by the deadline, the Kaiser Family Foundation found in a tracking poll. Pollsters also discovered that 29% do not plan to enroll and 23% are unsure whether they will participate — that's more than half, the Kaiser researches noted.

Many seniors still have an unpopular view of the benefit, the poll found. A total of 45% of seniors said they have an unfavorable view of the drug benefit, compared with 23% who have a favorable view, according to the poll results. In Aug. 2005, the same amount of elderly Medicare beneficiaries — 32% — viewed the benefit favorably as well as unfavorably.