Good News on Medicare Drug Benefit
Enrollment Tops Projections in Albuquerque District
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Heather Wilson is welcoming data released by Medicare showing enrollment in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit is strong in her district.
At least 58,967 of the 89,041 people on Medicare in New Mexico's First Congressional District now have drug coverage. That doesn't count people who are covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and Veterans who have TRICARE for Life. When you add in a conservative estimate of how many of those folks live in the Albuquerque area, over 78% of those eligible for the program are already signed up or covered by a plan equal to or better than Medicare.
Medicare covers most seniors and many disabled Americans. All people eligible for Medicare qualify for the new prescription drug coverage, the first offered by Medicare in the history of the program. Enrollment began on November 15, 2005, and coverage began on January 1, 2006.
Between January 21 and February 11, 2006 another 4,275 seniors in the First District signed up for the drug benefit, an 8% increase in a three week period. Enrollment is higher and increased more rapidly in the First District than elsewhere in the state. When seniors with TRICARE and FEHBP coverage are factored in, the First District is nearing or has already surpassed expected enrollment projections for the entire year.
"These numbers are very encouraging. This data shows many seniors in New Mexico see this as something that will help them save money on prescriptions," said Wilson. "In addition to helping seniors enroll, we need to make sure they get the extra help they need if they are low income."
"Over 75% of those eligible for the program in my district are already signed up or covered by a plan equal to or better than Medicare. That's pretty remarkable given that this is a voluntary program and nobody has to sign up if they don't want to. We will keep working to make sure that everyone who wants to join, can do so," said Wilson.
"There are 11 weeks left until the May 15 enrollment date, we will keep working with our partners in this effort to make sure any senior that wants coverage finds a plan that works for them."