FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lynnette Johnson Williams 202.326.1755
March 24, 2006
Medicare Rx Education Network

PRESS RELEASE

SENIORS SAY MEDICARE Rx BENEFIT IS WORKING IN NEW TELEVISION AD CAMPAIGN

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Beneficiaries are saving money with the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, so those who are eligible for coverage but haven't yet signed up should consider doing so.

That's the message behind a new television advertising campaign the Medicare Rx Education Network will launch this weekend. The ad features seniors discussing their experience with the new program.

"It is important that we continue reaching out to people in Medicare, as well as those who care for them, so beneficiaries can make informed decisions about their prescription drug coverage," said former U.S. Senator John Breaux, chairman of the broad-based coalition made up of more than 75 national organizations representing seniors, patients, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, pharmacists, insurers, health care providers, and businesses.

"Seniors who are already saving money say signing up for the new Part D benefit is well worth the effort," he said. "The new ad offers those who have yet to make up their minds about this benefit credible evidence the program is working."

Breaux noted that about 2 million people signed up for the drug benefit in the last month alone. This brings the total number of beneficiaries who have voluntarily enrolled since Jan. 1 to 7.2 million. All together, over 27 million Medicare beneficiaries now have some type of prescription drug coverage.

The ad will initially run in the Washington, D.C. market on public affairs programs and cable news stations. Breaux indicated no decisions have been made about expanding the buy to encompass other markets or different programming.

The Medicare Rx Education Network ran a $5 million national television ad campaign to raise awareness of the benefit last summer and fall before health insurers could begin marketing the new plans.

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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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