04.13.06

Burr Calls on Seniors to Enroll in Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Before May 15 Deadline

Reports show 69% of beneficiaries in North Carolina have enrolled

Washington, D.C. - Senator Richard Burr today called on North Carolina's seniors to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan to best serve their health care needs. This year every American with Medicare, regardless of income, health status, or prescription drug usage was given access to prescription drug coverage under the new Medicare Part D program if they sign up. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 69% of North Carolina's Medicare beneficiaries have enrolled in a prescription drug plan.

"I am pleased so many North Carolina seniors have enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan. Starting any new program can be frustrating, but I applaud the seniors in our state for enrolling in a drug plan that best serves their health care needs," Burr said. "I encourage seniors not enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan to pick a plan before the May 15 enrollment deadline."

The deadline to enroll in a 2006 Medicare prescription drug plan and pay lower premiums is May 15, 2006. After that deadline, the next opportunity to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan will be November 15, 2006. The November 15 enrollment period officially begins the 2007 prescription drug season and seniors will likely pay a penalty for not enrolling by May 15.

Many resources are available to assist Medicare beneficiaries in choosing the best plan. The Medicare call center is available 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-633-4227 and the Medicare website can be accessed at www.medicare.gov .

Also, the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Seniors Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provide counselors to answer questions about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Seniors may contact SHIIP by calling 1-800-443-9354 or by visiting the North Carolina SHIIP website at www.ncshiip.com. Local counselors are available in most North Carolina counties.

For more information go to https://www.burr.senate.gov