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Senior Health and the Medicare Reform Plan

Senior Health > Senior Health and the Medicare Reform Plan

Senior health in the United States has been resuscitated. In January of 2002, Illinois Governor, George H. Ryan, commended President George W. Bush for the prescription drug assistance program he was piloting in their state. By May of 2002, the president had implemented as part of his general senior health care plan the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (as per a later White House press release), which was to augment senior health care with a Medicare Drug Discount Card. The card is now being offered on Medicare’s website, www.medicare.gov. But before you click on the link, read a bit further.

The White House press release of November, 2004 reports that more than 4 million seniors are already using and saving on senior health care costs with their Medicare drug discount cards. But another report by Scout News (as re-released in Health Day News) discloses that most seniors are confused…and not yet taking advantage of the plan. One reason, some speculate, is that [they] are “not computer savvy” enough.

While the website is a bit busy with tasks, sidebars, and information, with the patience that most seniors (most humans) have they might just be interested in reviewing the senior health care/Medicare reform benefit. If anything, to challenge those who doubt their ability to turn on and log on and navigate the labyrinth that is—like any complex, information-packed site—the Medicare site. For the site is also to some degree what we might call “senior-friendly.” It is set up so that the main pages are in a readable font, and at the very top of each page is a Reader Version button to click on if you just want the facts and not all the frames, alluring side links, etc.

Regardless of what you decide to do now, here is an overview of the Medicare Drug Discount Card program’s basic eligibility information:

• The senior must be enrolled in Medicare.
• The enrolled Medicare senior must not already be receiving Outpatient Prescription Drugs from Medicare.
• A single senior must have a monthly income of no more than $1,048.
• A senior couple must have a monthly income of no more than $1,406.
• The card costs $30 a year for some, less for others, and nothing for still others.
• The program is a voluntary one.
• There is no deadline for enrollment and no therefore no late-enrollment penalty.
• Enrollment forms are available on www.medicare.gov.

Now you can click, and show the nay-sayers how savvy you are…or at least write an email to them and tell them why you don’t want to participate.

Senior Health > Senior Health and the Medicare Reform Plan