FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 202.312.1098
April 20, 2006
Medicare Rx Education Network

STATEMENT

Statement by former U.S. Senator John Breaux, Honorary Chairman, Medicare Rx Education Network on today's CMS release of updated enrollment figures for the Medicare prescription drug benefit:

"That Medicare has surpassed its enrollment goals speaks volumes. Clearly, seniors are finding the prescription drug benefit worth the time and effort it takes to sign up. The enrollment numbers have increased dramatically in the last four weeks and so has the rate at which beneficiaries have been signing up. Some 8.1 million now are enrolled in stand-alone plans, 5.8 million in Medicare managed-care plans that include prescription coverage and, all together, more than 30 million Medicare beneficiaries now have some form of prescription drug coverage. Seniors are experiencing the savings and peace of mind that the Medicare prescription coverage brings and, as that positive experience accrues, it becomes proof positive of the benefit's value and translates to motivation for those who have yet to sign up to do so.

“A recent Medicare Rx Education Network survey found that many of those who had signed up recommended seeking help with the enrollment process. That help is readily available to every Medicare beneficiary by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for one-on-one counseling.

“The May 15 open-enrollment deadline is fast approaching and one-on-one counseling hopefully will help healthy beneficiaries who don't yet take many prescription drugs and may be dragging their feet about signing up to understand the value of this long-term coverage.”

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The Medicare Rx Education Network provides information and assistance with outreach and enrollment for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The network, which includes 70 national organizations, is chaired by former U.S. Senator John Breaux. Members share an interest in educating Medicare beneficiaries about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and will work closely with the appropriate federal agencies to obtain up-to-date information to ensure that information disseminated by the network about Medicare Part D is factual and accurately conveyed, thereby pre-empting confusion about the benefit and equipping beneficiaries and their caregivers to make informed choices. By sharing information with each other about member organizations’ independent efforts, collaborating on activities, and identifying ways to work together, the network aims to eliminate duplication of efforts and maximize the effectiveness of outreach efforts. The network does not engage in legislative activities or take positions on pending legislative or administrative policies related to the Part D benefit and its implementation.

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