EIGHT OUT OF 10 SENIORS SATISFIED WITH MEDICARE PART D
Washington D.C. “” Eighty-two percent of seniors enrolled in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit are satisfied with their coverage nine months into the program, according to a new survey commissioned by the Medicare Rx Education Network and conducted by KRC Research.
The findings of the nationally representative telephone survey of 802 seniors aged 65 and older are in line with results from a similar survey conducted by KRC in mid-March, soon after the Part D benefit began.
“Continued high levels of satisfaction are clear indications that the program is working well for the vast majority of seniors,” says former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, honorary chairman of the Medicare Rx Education Network. “You can’t get much better validation of a program than the endorsement of those who are using it.”
“Together with this good news, the survey also sheds light on some of the areas in which seniors need more information,” adds Breaux. “As the next enrollment period draws near, these findings will help the network focus its educational efforts where the needs are greatest.”
Among key results, the survey shows the majority of seniors in Part D plans reported that they are getting the prescription medicines they need through their Medicare drug coverage. Almost three quarters (73 percent) said that their stand-alone plan or Medicare Advantage plan covers all the medicines prescribed by their doctor.
Importantly, 32 percent reported that they no longer need to skip or reduce prescribed doses now that they are enrolled in a Part D plan.
Moreover, nearly four out of five seniors (79 percent) said their total out-of-pocket costs are reasonable. Specifically, they reported that monthly premiums and co-pays are affordable
(81 percent and 78 percent, respectively), and the majority (61 percent) said they now spend less on medications.
Most (69 percent) of the seniors in Part D plans reported that they are better off now than before they enrolled in the Medicare drug benefit. Nearly all (92 percent) said their plan is convenient to use, and 87 percent said it offers good customer service.
“Surprisingly, over 75 percent of seniors surveyed were unsure of the timing of the open-enrollment period. When asked whether they would likely change plans, three-quarters
(75 percent) said they do not intend to switch plans, while just over 10 percent said they might change plans and 13 percent were unsure,” says Mark David Richards, Ph.D., senior vice president of KRC Research.
As a result of the survey findings, the Medicare Rx Education Network is focusing its efforts over the next few months to inform seniors about the open-enrollment period (Nov. 15-Dec. 31), the options at that time to change plans, and various options to fully or partially fill the coverage gap, including low-income subsidies. In addition, the network is continuing to guide seniors to
one-on-one help to identify plans that are right for them, and is holding educational events around the country.
The Medicare Rx Education Network provides information and assistance with outreach and education for the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The network, which includes 79 national organizations, is chaired by former U.S. Sen. John Breaux. Members share an interest in educating Medicare beneficiaries about the 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 so that beneficiaries and their caregivers can 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.