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November 15, 2005
Medicare Rx Education Network


Former U.S. Senator John Breaux, chairman of the Medicare Rx Education Network, made the following statement regarding the first day of open enrollment for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

“Today marks a milestone in Medicare’s 40-year existence. Until now, Medicare has covered prescription drugs given in a hospital setting, but it hasn’t covered the drugs that keep seniors out of a hospital. Medicare has covered the typical $50,000 cost of treating a heart attack, but not the approximately $1,000 annual cost of prescriptions that prevent a heart attack from happening in the first place. That is changing.

“Thanks to a wide array of choices, Medicare beneficiaries are able to find their own “best fit” based on what’s most important to them – cost, coverage or convenience. Even those not currently taking any medications could need, at any moment, treatment for an acute, chronic or life-threatening condition. When Medicare beneficiaries carefully examine the new prescription benefit, they will find that it guarantees affordable, reliable prescription drug coverage to give them peace of mind for a lifetime.”

NOTE: The Medicare Rx Education Network has developed a checklist to assist beneficiaries in assessing their current prescription drug situation. This will help prepare beneficiaries for the sign-up process. The checklist is available at Beneficiaries can speak with a Medicare representative directly by dialing 1-800-MEDICARE (1800-633-4227) or they can find a counselor in their area by calling Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116). On-line help and information, including the drug plan finder, can be accessed at


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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