In three days, enrollment begins for the new expanded Medicare Pharmacy benefit program. The program features over 40 different benefit packages and is considered by many to be incredibly complicated and hard to grasp.
According to a NY Times front page story:
In a survey issued this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, only 35 percent of people 65 and older said they understood the new drug benefit. Those who said they understood it were more likely to have a favorable impression of it.
Asked about beneficiaries’ confusion, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said: “Health care is complicated. We acknowledge that. Lots of things in life are complicated: filling out a tax return, registering your car, getting cable television. It is going to take time for seniors to become comfortable with the drug benefit.”
Acturally Mr. Leavitt, getting cable is not that complicated. You call the cable company and they promise to come to your house between noon and 4:00 PM. When they do show up, they wire you up. Not something I could do, but not all that complicated.
Further in the NY Times story, the reporter quotes frustrated Kansan:
“I have a Ph.D., and it’s too complicated to suit me,” said William Q. Beard, 73, a retired chemist in Wichita, Kan., who takes eight prescription drugs, including several heart medicines. “I wonder how the vast majority of beneficiaries will handle this. I fervently wish that members of Congress had to deal with the same health care program we do.”
Now THERE’S an idea….