Medicare Weekly News 17 for January 30, 2006

Media Relations: Tel: 202-326-1816

MEDIA ALERT

Note: Medicare Weekly News (MWN) is a weekly series for newsmakers nationwide brought to you by the Medicare Rx Education Network. MWN provides important information about a timely topic on the Medicare prescription drug benefit; it will be distributed to newsrooms each Monday. For questions about the Network, please contact Brian Franklin at 202-312-1098.

Tips for Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit New Enrollees

January 30, 2006 - As Medicare Part D begins its second month, pharmacies nationwide are preparing for the influx of more than a million new enrollees, who signed up in January, to have their first prescriptions filled and their many questions answered.

Because of the sheer volume of new enrollees, February 1 will not be without its challenges and seniors are urged to take a few moments to prepare through using a few simple tips:

  • On the first day of each month, new enrollees and dual-eligibles who have switched to new plans will arrive to fulfill their prescriptions. Beneficiaries who have recently signed up for the benefit but have yet to receive their Medicare Part D card still may be able to get prescriptions filled until that card arrives. Seniors who have not received their Medicare Part D card should bring their proof-of-eligibility letter with them to the pharmacy. This letter, issued by the individual’s insurance company, will be familiar to the pharmacist.
  • If beneficiaries do not yet have their eligibility letter, they can call their plan's customer service office and ask for their ID number, along with numbers and addresses that pharmacies can use for billing.
  • Beneficiaries can request that their plan fax an enrollment confirmation letter directly to their pharmacy.
  • Beneficiaries who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid should bring their proof of eligibility for both programs to the pharmacy if they have not yet received their Medicare Part D card. The pharmacist will be able to identify the assigned plan for those auto-enrolled in a plan.
  • Beneficiaries who signed up very recently and aren’t sure whether they have coverage yet, can call 1-800-MEDICARE to confirm.
  • The Medicare Rx Education Network has developed a checklist to assist Medicare beneficiaries not yet enrolled in a plan in assessing their current prescription drug situation. The checklist is available at

    Beneficiaries can speak with a Medicare representative directly by dialing 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). On-line help and information, including the drug Plan Finder, can be accessed at www.Medicare.gov.

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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 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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