Over 38 Million People With Medicare Now Receiving Prescription Drug Coverage

Millions Getting Better Coverage Than Ever Before



Jun 14, 2006, 01:00 ET from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    WASHINGTON, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today
 announced that 38.2 million people with Medicare are now receiving
 comprehensive prescription drug coverage, in many cases even better
 coverage than they ever had before. A surge in enrollment took place in the
 closing weeks of the enrollment period, with more than 2 million
 beneficiaries signing up between May 1 and the May 15th deadline.
     "Introduction of the Medicare prescription drug benefit created an
 unprecedented opportunity and a breathtaking challenge," Secretary Leavitt
 said. "The challenge has been met, and today, for over 38 million Americans
 - - 90 percent of people with Medicare -- the promise is being fulfilled,
 day in and day out, prescription by prescription. In fact, more than 3.5
 million Part D prescriptions are being filled each day and the cost of
 monthly plan premiums is nearly 40 percent lower than original estimates."
     The average premium in 2006 for beneficiaries, not counting retiree
 coverage, is less than $24. In addition, 87 percent of beneficiaries chose
 plans other than the standard benefit, according to the Centers for
 Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
     "With help from thousands of partners across the country, and
 personalized assistance from 1-800-MEDICARE and http://www.medicare.gov,
 people with Medicare and their family members were able to get the drug
 coverage they prefer at a far lower cost than expected," said CMS
 Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. "Thanks to Medicare
 beneficiaries making informed choices to meet their needs, the costs of
 Medicare drug coverage are way down -- and we will continue to support
 effective competition to provide high- quality, low-cost coverage."
     Total enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans increased by over 26
 percent (1,249,041 self enrollees) during the six month enrollment period,
 bringing the total number of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage
 plans to 7.4 million. Included in that total are about 4.8 million who
 chose to enroll in these plans before January, 2006.
     About 87 percent of all beneficiaries who enrolled in a prescription
 drug plan chose a plan that offers coverage other than the standard
 benefit, such as no deductibles or coverage in the "donut hole." Most
 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are also getting more
 comprehensive drug coverage than in the standard plan. In addition, almost
 10 million low-income beneficiaries are getting comprehensive drug coverage
 for little or no cost.
     Among the 38.2 million beneficiaries who are now receiving prescription
 drug coverage, approximately 32.8 million have coverage from Medicare and
 5.4 million have coverage from other sources, including the Department of
 Veterans Affairs (VA), primary coverage from an employer (from
 beneficiaries who are working after age 65), and state prescription drug
 programs that are not yet combined with Medicare Part D. Based on the
 latest information on the choices of veterans with VA benefits and Medicare
 coverage, almost 40 percent are enrolled in Medicare Part D, a much larger
 number of VA beneficiaries than previously expected.
     Enrollment for the new Medicare prescription drug coverage began on
 November 15, 2005 and ended on May 15, 2006.
     Overall prescription drug coverage enrollment figures as of June 11 are:
 
     * Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs): 10.4 million people with
       Medicare have enrolled in stand-alone prescription drug plans, including
       2.2 million enrollees receiving the low income subsidy (LIS).
     * Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drugs (MA-PDs): 6 million
       beneficiaries receive coverage through Medicare Advantage plans with
       drug coverage (MA-PDs), including 1.2 million new enrollees. Medicare
       Advantage includes 925,000 enrollees receiving the LIS. About 478,000 of
       these are full Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.  About 1.1 million
       beneficiaries are currently enrolled in MA-only plans; many of these
       beneficiaries in private fee-for-service plans are receiving Part D
       through a separate PDP and therefore included in the enrollment totals
       for PDPs.
     * Medicare/Medicaid: 6.1 million Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries were
       automatically enrolled in prescription drug plans. An additional 478,000
       Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans
       with prescription drug coverage and are counted in the MA-PD total
       above.
     * Retiree Coverage: 6.9 million retirees are enrolled in the Medicare
       retiree subsidy. In addition, about 1.5 million retirees are in employer
       and union-sponsored coverage that incorporates Medicare group drug
       coverage and about 400,000 retirees are in employer and union-sponsored
       coverage that wraps around Medicare drug coverage -- these beneficiaries
       are counted in the PDP and MA-PD totals above.
     * Federal retiree coverage: 3.5 million
        -- TRICARE: Estimated 1.9 million beneficiaries with TRICARE retiree
           coverage, based on data that was provided by the Department of
           Defense (DoD).  This number excludes nearly 7 percent who were found
           to be enrolled in Part D plans based on a person-level data match.
        -- FEHB: Estimated 1.6 million beneficiaries with FEHB retiree
           coverage, includes both retirees and spouses, and excludes 2 percent
           who might be enrolled in Part D plans (based on information from
           OPM).
     * Additional Sources of Prescription Drug Coverage for Medicare
       Beneficiaries:
       HHS estimates that approximately 5.4 million Medicare beneficiaries have
       alternative sources of "creditable" prescription drug coverage:
        -- VA: There are an estimated 2 million beneficiaries with creditable
           drug coverage through the VA who have not signed up for Part D.
           About 1 million VA beneficiaries enrolled in a Part D plan, and
           about 400,000 are receiving drug coverage from an employer receiving
           the Part D subsidy. These numbers are based on a sample person-level
           match provided by the VA.
        -- Indian Health Service (IHS):  There remains 0.1 million
           beneficiaries with creditable drug coverage through the IHS being
           served by I/T/U pharmacies in 28 states.
        -- Active Workers with Medicare Secondary Payer: Nearly 2.6 million
           beneficiaries receive creditable drug coverage through an employer
           group health plan based on a person level match of our coordination
           of benefits files and Part D enrollment files.
        -- Other Retiree Coverage: An estimated 0.1 million retirees are
           continuing in retiree coverage who are not already included in the
           other retiree coverage categories.  Some of these retiree plans may
           apply for the Medicare retiree subsidy in their next full plan year,
           while others may have only a limited number of eligible retirees so
           that the financial impact of the RDS is small.
        -- State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAP): An estimated 0.59
           million beneficiaries are continuing to receive creditable coverage
           through SPAPs.  The estimate is based on information from four SPAP
           programs that have creditable coverage and are currently not
           requiring enrollment in Part D plans in order to retain SPAP
           coverage (NJ, NY, PA, and WI), and a person level match of SPAP
           files with Part D enrollment files.
     Of the approximately 4.4 million Medicare beneficiaries who do not have
 secure, quality drug coverage, approximately 3.2 million are estimated to
 be eligible for the extra help. As President Bush announced, enrollment for
 these beneficiaries with limited incomes will continue throughout the year,
 with no late enrollment penalty.
     HHS and CMS are continuing to work closely with the thousands of local
 organizations, whose efforts helped to inform and enroll the millions of
 Medicare beneficiaries across the country who enrolled in a prescription
 drug plan before the deadline, to reach these remaining beneficiaries. New
 outreach efforts include:
     * Collaboration with several intergovernmental partners including SSA;
       HUD; USDA; AoA; HRSA; and ACF to raise awareness and coordinate outreach
       events.
     * Enhanced outreach with many external partner organizations.  For
       example, CMS is collaborating with minority groups including the NAACP
       to target federal outreach grants to the areas with greatest number of
       LIS eligibles.
     * New targeted outreach activities, including collaborations with NCOA to
       inform partners of best practices regarding data driven outreach
       methods.
     "People with Medicare are already seeing significant savings through
 the new drug coverage, and beneficiaries with limited incomes have even
 more to save," said Dr. McClellan. "It's imperative that we reach as many
 of them to make sure that they are able to get the drugs they need."
     Tables are available at
 http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060614.html.
     Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
 available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
 
 

SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    WASHINGTON, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today
 announced that 38.2 million people with Medicare are now receiving
 comprehensive prescription drug coverage, in many cases even better
 coverage than they ever had before. A surge in enrollment took place in the
 closing weeks of the enrollment period, with more than 2 million
 beneficiaries signing up between May 1 and the May 15th deadline.
     "Introduction of the Medicare prescription drug benefit created an
 unprecedented opportunity and a breathtaking challenge," Secretary Leavitt
 said. "The challenge has been met, and today, for over 38 million Americans
 - - 90 percent of people with Medicare -- the promise is being fulfilled,
 day in and day out, prescription by prescription. In fact, more than 3.5
 million Part D prescriptions are being filled each day and the cost of
 monthly plan premiums is nearly 40 percent lower than original estimates."
     The average premium in 2006 for beneficiaries, not counting retiree
 coverage, is less than $24. In addition, 87 percent of beneficiaries chose
 plans other than the standard benefit, according to the Centers for
 Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
     "With help from thousands of partners across the country, and
 personalized assistance from 1-800-MEDICARE and http://www.medicare.gov,
 people with Medicare and their family members were able to get the drug
 coverage they prefer at a far lower cost than expected," said CMS
 Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. "Thanks to Medicare
 beneficiaries making informed choices to meet their needs, the costs of
 Medicare drug coverage are way down -- and we will continue to support
 effective competition to provide high- quality, low-cost coverage."
     Total enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans increased by over 26
 percent (1,249,041 self enrollees) during the six month enrollment period,
 bringing the total number of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage
 plans to 7.4 million. Included in that total are about 4.8 million who
 chose to enroll in these plans before January, 2006.
     About 87 percent of all beneficiaries who enrolled in a prescription
 drug plan chose a plan that offers coverage other than the standard
 benefit, such as no deductibles or coverage in the "donut hole." Most
 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are also getting more
 comprehensive drug coverage than in the standard plan. In addition, almost
 10 million low-income beneficiaries are getting comprehensive drug coverage
 for little or no cost.
     Among the 38.2 million beneficiaries who are now receiving prescription
 drug coverage, approximately 32.8 million have coverage from Medicare and
 5.4 million have coverage from other sources, including the Department of
 Veterans Affairs (VA), primary coverage from an employer (from
 beneficiaries who are working after age 65), and state prescription drug
 programs that are not yet combined with Medicare Part D. Based on the
 latest information on the choices of veterans with VA benefits and Medicare
 coverage, almost 40 percent are enrolled in Medicare Part D, a much larger
 number of VA beneficiaries than previously expected.
     Enrollment for the new Medicare prescription drug coverage began on
 November 15, 2005 and ended on May 15, 2006.
     Overall prescription drug coverage enrollment figures as of June 11 are:
 
     * Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs): 10.4 million people with
       Medicare have enrolled in stand-alone prescription drug plans, including
       2.2 million enrollees receiving the low income subsidy (LIS).
     * Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drugs (MA-PDs): 6 million
       beneficiaries receive coverage through Medicare Advantage plans with
       drug coverage (MA-PDs), including 1.2 million new enrollees. Medicare
       Advantage includes 925,000 enrollees receiving the LIS. About 478,000 of
       these are full Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.  About 1.1 million
       beneficiaries are currently enrolled in MA-only plans; many of these
       beneficiaries in private fee-for-service plans are receiving Part D
       through a separate PDP and therefore included in the enrollment totals
       for PDPs.
     * Medicare/Medicaid: 6.1 million Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries were
       automatically enrolled in prescription drug plans. An additional 478,000
       Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans
       with prescription drug coverage and are counted in the MA-PD total
       above.
     * Retiree Coverage: 6.9 million retirees are enrolled in the Medicare
       retiree subsidy. In addition, about 1.5 million retirees are in employer
       and union-sponsored coverage that incorporates Medicare group drug
       coverage and about 400,000 retirees are in employer and union-sponsored
       coverage that wraps around Medicare drug coverage -- these beneficiaries
       are counted in the PDP and MA-PD totals above.
     * Federal retiree coverage: 3.5 million
        -- TRICARE: Estimated 1.9 million beneficiaries with TRICARE retiree
           coverage, based on data that was provided by the Department of
           Defense (DoD).  This number excludes nearly 7 percent who were found
           to be enrolled in Part D plans based on a person-level data match.
        -- FEHB: Estimated 1.6 million beneficiaries with FEHB retiree
           coverage, includes both retirees and spouses, and excludes 2 percent
           who might be enrolled in Part D plans (based on information from
           OPM).
     * Additional Sources of Prescription Drug Coverage for Medicare
       Beneficiaries:
       HHS estimates that approximately 5.4 million Medicare beneficiaries have
       alternative sources of "creditable" prescription drug coverage:
        -- VA: There are an estimated 2 million beneficiaries with creditable
           drug coverage through the VA who have not signed up for Part D.
           About 1 million VA beneficiaries enrolled in a Part D plan, and
           about 400,000 are receiving drug coverage from an employer receiving
           the Part D subsidy. These numbers are based on a sample person-level
           match provided by the VA.
        -- Indian Health Service (IHS):  There remains 0.1 million
           beneficiaries with creditable drug coverage through the IHS being
           served by I/T/U pharmacies in 28 states.
        -- Active Workers with Medicare Secondary Payer: Nearly 2.6 million
           beneficiaries receive creditable drug coverage through an employer
           group health plan based on a person level match of our coordination
           of benefits files and Part D enrollment files.
        -- Other Retiree Coverage: An estimated 0.1 million retirees are
           continuing in retiree coverage who are not already included in the
           other retiree coverage categories.  Some of these retiree plans may
           apply for the Medicare retiree subsidy in their next full plan year,
           while others may have only a limited number of eligible retirees so
           that the financial impact of the RDS is small.
        -- State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAP): An estimated 0.59
           million beneficiaries are continuing to receive creditable coverage
           through SPAPs.  The estimate is based on information from four SPAP
           programs that have creditable coverage and are currently not
           requiring enrollment in Part D plans in order to retain SPAP
           coverage (NJ, NY, PA, and WI), and a person level match of SPAP
           files with Part D enrollment files.
     Of the approximately 4.4 million Medicare beneficiaries who do not have
 secure, quality drug coverage, approximately 3.2 million are estimated to
 be eligible for the extra help. As President Bush announced, enrollment for
 these beneficiaries with limited incomes will continue throughout the year,
 with no late enrollment penalty.
     HHS and CMS are continuing to work closely with the thousands of local
 organizations, whose efforts helped to inform and enroll the millions of
 Medicare beneficiaries across the country who enrolled in a prescription
 drug plan before the deadline, to reach these remaining beneficiaries. New
 outreach efforts include:
     * Collaboration with several intergovernmental partners including SSA;
       HUD; USDA; AoA; HRSA; and ACF to raise awareness and coordinate outreach
       events.
     * Enhanced outreach with many external partner organizations.  For
       example, CMS is collaborating with minority groups including the NAACP
       to target federal outreach grants to the areas with greatest number of
       LIS eligibles.
     * New targeted outreach activities, including collaborations with NCOA to
       inform partners of best practices regarding data driven outreach
       methods.
     "People with Medicare are already seeing significant savings through
 the new drug coverage, and beneficiaries with limited incomes have even
 more to save," said Dr. McClellan. "It's imperative that we reach as many
 of them to make sure that they are able to get the drugs they need."
     Tables are available at
 http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060614.html.
     Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
 available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
 
 SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services