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MEDICARE PART D: What Now, What Next?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Close to 24 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D coverage for prescription drugs in the first two enrollment cycles. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 75 percent of beneficiaries are satisfied with the program. However, evidence suggests that seniors who were uncovered in 2005 benefited more than other enrollees in 2006. HHS has announced that more than 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in a stand-alone prescription drug plan will have access to at least one plan with a lower premium in 2008[1]; and the third open enrollment period is now upon us – November 15 through December 31, 2007.

But not all analysts and beneficiary advocates have pronounced the program a success in providing prescription drug coverage to the targeted group. Some say that the complexity of the program has prevented eligible beneficiaries from enrolling and taking advantage of the low-income subsidy. Others say that, even when enrolled, not all seniors are able to get the medicines they need.

Other policy issues also remain: Do beneficiaries continue to fill prescriptions when they reach the “doughnut hole” and the full cost comes out of their pockets? Do beneficiaries in rural areas have access to pharmacies that can handle this new benefit? How are dually-eligible beneficiaries, those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, faring? Do all eligible persons understand the benefit and how to choose a plan that best meets their needs? Have the costs to taxpayers been more or less than expected?

To address these and related questions, The Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for Health Reform are sponsoring a November 5 luncheon briefing. Panelists will be: Tracey McCutcheon, deputy director of the Medicare Drug Benefit Group at CMS; Stuart Guterman, senior program director for The Commonwealth Fund's Program on Medicare's Future; Laura Summer, senior research scholar at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute; and John Rother, policy and strategy director for the AARP. Ed Howard of the Alliance will moderate.

1 News Release, September 27, 2007, US DHHS.


Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
Stuart Guterman, The Commonwealth Fund, Speaker
Laura Summer, Georgetown University, Speaker
Tracey McCutcheon, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Speaker
John Rother, AARP, Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Medicare Part D: What Now? What Next? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/9/2007
Full Webcast/Podcast: Medicare Part D: What Now? What Next?

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Guterman Presentation - Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Progress Report (PowerPoint), 11/5/2007
Summer Presentation - Medicare Part D: How Vulnerable Populations are Faring (PowerPoint), 11/5/2007
McCutcheon Presentation - Medicare Part D: What Now, What Next? CMS Continues to Improve Part D (PowerPoint), 11/5/2007
Rother Presentation - Strengthening Medicare Part D (PowerPoint), 11/5/2007

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Improving the Medicare Part D Program for the Most Vulnerable Beneficiaries (Adobe Acrobat PDF), The Commonwealth Fund, 5/1/2007
One Year In: Sole Community Rural Independent Pharmacies and Medicare Part D (Adobe Acrobat PDF), North Carolina Rural Health Research & Policy Analysis Center and The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, 10/1/2007
Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey: Medicare Part D (Adobe Acrobat PDF), The Commonwealth Fund, 7/6/2006
Assessing Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in Four States: Balancing Cost and Access (Adobe Acrobat PDF), The Commonwealth Fund, 8/1/2006
Medicare Drug Plans Strong and Growing (Adobe Acrobat PDF), CMS, 1/1/2007
The Power of Partnerships: Lessons from Outreach for the Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Kaiser Permanente, 9/1/2007
Private Medicare Drug Plans: High Expenses and Low Rebates Increase The Costs of Medicare... (Adobe Acrobat PDF), House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform - Majority Staff, 10/1/2007
Tracking Medicare Health and Prescription Drug Plans - Monthly Report for September 2007 (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Kaiser Family Foundation and Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 10/10/2007
Medicare Part D Fact Sheet (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Kaiser Family Foundation, 10/29/2007
Testimony of Vicki Gottlich - Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (Adobe Acrobat PDF), US Senate Finance Committee Testimony, 5/2/2007
The Facts: Medicare Part D and Prescription Drug Prices (Adobe Acrobat PDF), American Enterprise Institute, 1/9/2007
Medicare Part D: Improving Healthcare and Lowering Costs for Beneficiaries (Adobe Acrobat PDF), PhRMA, 9/1/2007
AHIP Statement on Medicare Part D (Adobe Acrobat PDF), America's Health Insurance Plans, 1/1/2007

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Medicare-Administered Drug Benefit Would be More Affordable, Comprehensive, Stable than Current, Consumers Union, 10/1/2007
HHS Announces More Than 90 Percent Of Medicare Beneficiaries Will Have Access To A Lower Premiu, US Department of Health and Human Services, 9/27/2007
Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans, The New York Times, 10/9/2007
Medicare Expects to Recover $4 Billion from Part D Plans..., CMS, 10/5/2007
Average Medicare Prescription Drug Premiums to Rise 21%, Avalere Health, 10/5/2007
Smith and Bingaman Push Measures that Provide Assistance to Low-Income..., US Senate Aging Committee, 4/12/2007
The Role of Beneficiary-Centered Assignment for Medicare Part D (Adobe Acrobat PDF),MedPAC, 6/1/2007
Experiences with Medicare Part D Among Enrollees and Non-Enrollees, AARP, 11/1/2006
The Next Steps: Strategies to Improve the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Council on Aging, 1/1/2007
Seniors' Opinions About Medicare Rx: Second Year Update (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Medicare Today, 10/1/2007
Medicare Part D: Assessing the Impact for Beneficiaries Without Prev Drug Coverage and Dual Eli (Adobe Acrobat PDF),PhRMA, 9/1/2007
Medicare Part D Chartpack, Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/7/2007
Medicare Part D 2008 Data Spotlights, Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/7/2007


Stuart Guterman of The Commonwealth Fund -- speaker at the November 5th briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Laura Summer of Georgetown University -- speaker at the November 5th briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

Tracey McCutcheon of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-- speaker at the November 5th briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.

John Rother of AARP -- speaker at the November 5th briefing cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund.


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