Seniors can begin enrolling in the new Medicare prescription drug plan starting today, but many are finding the wealth of options confusing.
Selecting the best plan may be difficult, but President Bush touted it in his weekly radio address as âthe greatest advance in health care for seniors and Americans with disabilities since the creation of Medicare 40 years ago.â
Some of the country's 40 million Medicare beneficiaries have felt stymied by the system in the past. For example, Bush said, âMedicare would pay more than $100,000 to treat the effects of a stroke, but not $1,000 per year for blood-thinning drugs that could have prevented the stroke in the first place.â
The combined advantage of PPC and CheckpointÂ® for integrated tax compliance and planning
RIA's Checkpoint has now integrated the industry's leading tax compliance and planning resources from PPCPPC's Tax Deskbooksâ¢, renowned for the unique Key Issues Approach to step-by-step return preparation, and PPC's Business Tax Planning Libraryâ¢, which provides tax return roadmaps and practice aids to quickly identify potential tax planning opportunities from completed tax returns. Try PPC's Tax Deskbooksâ¢ on Checkpoint and PPC's Business Tax Planning Libraryâ¢ on Checkpoint FREE for 30 days.
Preventing serious illness, rather than treating it when it happens, is the thinking behind the new plan, which features private companies providing the government-sponsored benefit.
Now is the time to consider choices for the new coverage, which starts Jan. 1. USA Today tested the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov, and found it somewhat daunting, even for savvy Internet users. To compare plans, enter a ZIP code and plans available in that area will appear, but in the case of Vienna, Va., for example, 54 choices popped up. Seniors can also list the prescription drugs they take to find plans that cover those particular drugs; again, dozens appeared. Some plans offer low to no premiums, while others offer higher premiums with lower co-payments. However, the website offers a wealth of information, although weeding through it may take some time.
"We think it's a good thing there are a lot of options for seniors and others in Medicare, but certainly, they may be overwhelmed by the number of choices out there," said Cheryl Randolph, a spokeswoman for PacifiCare, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
While sign-ups can start today, Medicare beneficiaries have until May 15 to enroll without paying late sign-up rates. If you choose now, but change your mind, you can switch anytime before Jan. 1.
The change offers another benefit â some health-insurance companies are beefing up their insurance policies to attract Medicare recipients to their Medicare Advantage plans. The companies include Humana Inc., PacifiCare Health Systems, UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported. Extra benefits include vision, gym memberships, lower premiums or even no premiums.
For more information, call 800.633.4327. The National Council on the Aging also offers comparisons of drug plans at www.benefitscheckuprx.org.