Medicare Weekly News for October 10, 2005

Media Relations: Tel: 202-326-1816

MEDIA ALERT

Facts Foil Fake Drug Plans

Monday, October 10, 2005 – The Medicare Rx Education Network is urging Medicare beneficiaries to pay close attention to mail and phone calls they receive about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. As people in Medicare receive information about various prescription drug plans, they can help make sure they are dealing with a legitimate, Medicare-approved plan rather than a scam artist by remembering these important facts:

  • The Medicare prescription drug program is voluntary, not required
  • Private companies will offer Medicare prescription drug plans, not the government.
  • It’s illegal for companies or organizations to sell Medicare drug plans door-to-door or via unsolicited emails.
  • Legitimate programs will ask for your Social Security number only when you are actually enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan. You won’t be asked for your credit card or bank account information unless you plan to make automatic payments for your drug coverage from that account.

Seniors recently began receiving plan-related material from several sources. These include private insurance companies offering Medicare-approved plans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and beneficiaries’ current prescription drug insurance providers. Scam artists could take advantage of the situation and attempt to recruit seniors to join false plans

The six-month open-enrollment window for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug benefit begins November 15, 2005. For additional information about the Medicare prescription drug benefit, beneficiaries can log onto www.medicare.gov , or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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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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