Leavitt says that Medicare Part D was a success because “Around 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have enrolled” (DHHS Press Release, 4/4/06) to Part D. This statement is repeated in his Three-Month Progress Report (PDF)
“[Seniors] have enrolled” is not the exact phrasing I would use. “[Seniors] have been enrolled” is more accurate. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.
Source: CMS (web link and direct link to Total Medicare Beneficiaries with Drug Coverage Data (v04.18.06) [Excel.zip, 3KB], Kaiser has a web version of the numbers
Leavitt includes all kinds of non-voluntary enrollment, and even non-enrollment information into his 27 million figure.
- First, 30 million is 69% of total Medicare beneficiaries, not 90%.
- Second, 10 million seniors/disabled out of these 30 million have not enrolled to Part D at all. They have had drug coverage all along (Already w/Creditable Coverage), and they should not be included in a report that measures CMS’s success in implementing Medicare Part D. They are beneficiaries to the Employer Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) and Federal FEHB and TRICARE programs.
- Third, you can’t attribute “Automatic Enrollment” numbers to CMS’s merits. There’s two subcategories, so let’s take a closer look:
- Medicare-Medical Dual Eligibles: these are low-income seniors/disabled who were forcibly enrolled to Part D in January 1 2006, and went through all sorts of hardships while coping with the insurance companies’ neglect towards them. MediCaid sent them a NOA in late 2005 telling them that their MediCaid prescription drug benefits were being terminated, and Medicare just enrolled them to a randomly selected plan in December 31, 2005. Yes. RANDOM. Formulary and Pharmacy Network hell ensued.
- Medicare Advantage (HMO, Part C): they were also forcibly enrolled to an HMO-subsidiary PDP from their own HMO by January 1, 2006. They can’t opt out for another plan, because then they lose their entire HMO benefit. They never filled a form requesting Medicare Part D. How can you call that “the senior enrolled”?
Let’s stand corrected. The real enrollment of seniors/disabled who chose to enroll to Medicare Part D because they looked at their options and made a rational choice (a capitalist economy ideal, no?) is 8 million out of 21 million, which is a whoopping 38%. Not 90%.
[Tags]Medicare, Medicare Part D, Prescription Drug Plan, Enrollment, Numbers, Statistics, DHHS[/Tags]
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