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Frelinghuysen Encourages Seniors to Sign-up for Medicare Drug Benefit before May 15th Deadline

Location: Washington, DC

Frelinghuysen Encourages Seniors to Sign-up for Medicare Drug Benefit before May 15th Deadline

Dear Editor:

Thirty years ago few would have predicted that Medicare would cover the cost of prescription medicines. Soon Medicare beneficiaries will not be able to imagine life without coverage.

After experiencing some early challenges, Medicare's voluntary prescription drug benefit is beginning to work better for millions of seniors in New Jersey and across the nation.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that over 27 million Medicare beneficiaries -- including almost 775,000 in New Jersey -- now have coverage and are saving money on their prescription drugs. The AARP praised the high enrollment numbers and said "no one should be discouraged from enrolling and taking advantage of the savings." Additionally, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Mark McClellan, personally assured me that no individual will leave their pharmacy without their needed medications under this historic program.

With more seniors saying that the prescription drug program is working well for them, I strongly encourage all Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey who have not already signed up for the benefit to consider doing so before the enrollment period closes on May 15. Enrolling before the deadline will allow seniors to choose a drug plan that is best for them and provides the lowest premium.

To help cut through any confusion regarding this program, seniors should contact their County Office on Aging, a counselor at New Jersey's State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), the AARP, or Medicare directly by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or visiting

The real success of the Medicare drug program is not the number of seniors signing up for the benefit. It is what those numbers mean more seniors having access to the life-saving medications they need to live healthier, happier, and more independent lives. Now that some initial enrollment problems have been resolved, I hope beneficiaries will take advantage of lower costs and more choices that the Medicare prescription drug program is providing.


Rodney Frelinghuysen

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