Seniors still baffled by Medicare Part D drug benefit, survey says

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Enrollment for the Medicare Part D drug benefit begins Tuesday, but most beneficiaries are still confused about how the program works, a new survey shows.

More than 60% of beneficiaries said they did not understand the benefit very well or at all, while 35% said they understood the benefit well or somewhat well. These statistics come from the latest in a series of surveys on the drug program conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health. Results were released late last week.
 
More than 40% of seniors said they were unsure whether they would enroll in a drug plan. Twenty percent said they definitely would enroll, and 37% said they definitely would not enroll.
 
The survey results come on the heels of an Office of Inspector General study that found that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should consider expanding efforts to inform beneficiaries about the Medicare Part D program.
 
The Kaiser survey results are available at
<http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/med111005pkg.cfm>.
(Published 11-14-05)