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Medicare does not currently cover prescription drugs. Drug costs are growing at an alarming rate almost three times the rate of other health care costs. 
Many older people are finding it difficult to keep up with this out of pocket expense.

 

Prescription Drug

Percentage of Drug

Percentage of Heath

 

Increases of Expenditures

Expenditures

Expenditures

year

( in Billions )

 

 

1998

$90.60 

15.40%

5.60%

1997

$78.50 

14.00%

4.70%

1996

$68.90 

12.90%

4.60%

1995

$61.00 

10.60%

4.80%

1994

$55.20 

9.00%

5.50%

1993

$50.60 

8.70%

7.40%

Both Democrats and Republicans agree citizens over 65 need Medicare coverage for prescription drugs. Even though they see there is a need to expand benefits to cover prescription drugs, they are a miles apart providing such needed coverage.

Current Retiree Coverage for Drugs 

Currently, prescription drugs are covered by HMOs, PPOs, and by employer health insurance. Medicare covers very little in the way of prescription drugs for most beneficiaries. Low-income beneficiaries may have coverage coverage through Medicaid for the cost of prescription drugs. All other retired people will have to pay for expensive coverage through insurance plans.

Consumer Reports Rating For Supplemental Health Policies

If you're looking to plug the gaps in your Medicare coverage with a supplemental insurance policy or a Medicare HMO, here's some good news: Seniors in most major cities have a good selection of these two major health-care options. See Special Consumer Interest Reports...the Ratings cover 559 Medicare-supplement policies and 273 Medicare HMOs for 30 cities.  The Ratings will be included in a book, "The Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors," to be published in January by Three Rivers Press.

The National Economic Council issued a report America’s Seniors and Medicare.

The NEC analyzed the current Medicare system, cost and availability of drug coverage for older people. Today, people over 65 have only three options for prescription drugs coverage. A health plan that is offered by their former employer, a Medicare supplemental HMOs health plan that offers drug coverage or a Medigap plan, which includes prescription drug coverage.

The elderly find it difficult to obtain health coverage for prescription drugs as you see in this study. Very few former employers offer health plans to their retirees. Medicare supplemental HMOs that have drug coverage is not available in all geographic areas. The last option is a lowest-cost Medigap plan with prescription drug coverage. This is called an "H" plan, however many states do not offer this type of plan. This plan also includes a cap for prescription drug benefits.

 

 

 

 

Companies Offering Retiree Health Coverage

Medigap Plan With Drug Coverage

Medicare 
HMOs
With Prescription Drug Coverage

State

A

B

C

Alabama

19%

$1,488

N/A

Alaska

N/A

N/A

N/A

Arizona

22%

N/A

94%

Arkansas

14%

$1,896

N/A

California

19%

N/A

93%

Colorado

25%

$1,620

83%

Connecticut

24%

$2,484

97%

Delaware

N/A

$1,440

60%

DC

N/A

N/A

100%

Florida

20%

$2,004

82%

Georgia

24%

$2,580

37%

Hawaii

29%

N/A

100%

Idaho

N/A

N/A

29%

Illinois

25%

$1,572

63%

Indiana

21%

N/A

38%

Iowa

17%

$1,368

N/A

Kansas

21%

$1,512

22%

Kentucky

20%

N/A

28%

Louisiana

24%

N/A

52%

Maine

20%

$2,364

62%

Maryland

23%

N/A

81%

Massachusetts

25%

N/A

97%

Michigan

28%

$1,992

54%

Minnesota

19%

N/A

N/A

Mississippi

17%

$1,680

N/A

Missouri

18%

$1,632

61%

Montana

N/A

$1,332

N/A

Nebraska

22%

$1,332

N/A

Nevada

20%

$1,716

86%

New Hampshire

N/A

$1,260

48%

New Jersey

20%

N/A

100%

New Mexico

20%

$1,692

52%

New York

24%

$1,908

80%

North Carolina

22%

$1,500

N/A

North Dakota

N/A

$1,464

N/A

Ohio

28%

$1,572

83%

Oklahoma

22%

$1,344

75%

Oregon

21%

$1,428

53%

Pennsylvania

22%

$1,704

81%

Rhode Island

N/A

$1,284

92%

South Carolina

21%

$1,704

N/A

South Dakota

N/A

$1,356

N/A

Tennessee

24%

N/A

14%

Texas

19%

$1,488

69%

Utah

21%

$1,356

N/A

Vermont

N/A

$1,860

N/A

Virginia

23%

$1,176

30%

Washington

17%

$1,908

59%

West Virginia

19%

$1,392

N/A

Wisconsin

23%

N/A

42%

Wyoming

N/A

$1,476

N/A

TOTAL

22%

$1,632

61%

 

 

 

 

Tips on writing letters to Congress members

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing to a Congress member: 

  • Your letter must be sent in now to reach your Congress member when he or she considers the issue. 

  • The letter should specifically ask for prescription drug coverage for our seniors.

  • If you have a personal story, tell it! Legislators need to know why this issue is Important and why it will benefit the seniors.

  • Keep it short and simple and go right to the point.

  • You can use the following address to send a written letter:

Your Senator's name
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Or
Your Representative's name
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

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