OIG report: CMS needs to up elder awareness of drug program

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should consider expanding efforts to inform beneficiaries about the Medicare Part D drug program, a new report from the Office of Inspector General recommends.

Researchers based their recommendation on a survey of beneficiaries who had registered for prescription drug discount cards during the past year. Among their findings: More than one-third of enrolled beneficiaries needed help with the enrollment process.

Also, beneficiaries most commonly used passive sources such as news media and mail for drug card information. And only one-fifth of beneficiaries contacted a source requiring self-initiated action.
The discount card program, created under the 2003 Medicare law, was designed to provide temporary prescription drug coverage to beneficiaries until the full Medicare drug benefit begins in 2006.
(Published 11-11-05)