2007 Medicare Drug Benefit Open Enrollment Begins
Congresswoman Heather Wilson today reminded New Mexico seniors that this is the first day to change Medicare prescription plans for next year.
If seniors did not sign up before, but would like to now, they can sign up for 2007 benefits, or they can choose a different plan provider from the one they had last year. The new sign-up period lasts through December 31, 2006.
"If you're happy with your plan, then you're already signed up and nothing needs to change," Rep. Wilson said. "But if you want a different plan provider, or if you didn't sign up before, then now is the time to think about it again."
Medicare covers most seniors and many disabled Americans. Anyone eligible for Medicare qualifies for the prescription drug coverage, offered last year for the first time in the history of the program. Enrollment began on November 15, 2005, and coverage began on January 1, 2006. Wilson voted in favor of the legislation that created the new prescription drug benefit, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Public Law 108-173.
Seniors have saved an average of 50% on the cost of medications with the new benefit, or an average of $1,100 annually. Low-income seniors are getting more savings. 96% of seniors in New Mexico now have drug coverage, including 11,300 seniors in the First District who previously had no prescription drug coverage.
Seniors can call 1-800-MEDICARE to enroll or change plans, or go to www.medicare.gov. Seniors and disabled New Mexicans on Medicare who think they may qualify for low-income assistance should call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
"Many seniors in New Mexico have found the program helps them save money on prescriptions," said Wilson. "But if you need to sign up still or make a change, this is the start of the sign-up period. If you need help, feel free to call my office at (505) 346-6781."