Judith D. Moore
This Forum Session presented speakers who described efforts to educate and inform Medicare beneficiaries and other interested citizens about the new Medicare Prescription Drug program. Created as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the benefit is available to Medicare beneficiaries beginning January 1, 2006. Because of the complexity of Medicare and the new benefit, education and outreach activities by both government and private sector groups are underway and were described. Speakers addressed the short time frames involved in these activities and the need to target messages and information to different groups of beneficiaries, providers, and others. Efforts to ensure assistance to low-income beneficiaries were highlighted, because a large subsidy is available to many of the more vulnerable beneficiaries under the drug benefit program.
Michael McMullan, Deputy Director, Beneficiary Education, Center for Beneficiary Choices, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Tom Tobin, Associate Commissioner, Office of Communications Planning and Technology, Social Security Administration; Marisa Scala-Foley, Associate Director, Access to Benefits Coalition, National Council on Aging