FORTY PERCENT OF MEDICARE DRUG PLAN MEMBERS “NOT SATISFIED” ACCORDING TO MEDICAREDRUGPLANS.COM
-- Member Ratings and Reviews Available to Help Seniors During Upcoming Open Enrollment Period --
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK – EMBARGO UNTIL TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2006 –
Only 59% of Medicare Part D plan enrollees report being satisfied with their plans, down from 63% earlier in the year according to ratings collected on www.MedicareDrugPlans.com a free website that helps seniors evaluate and compare the government-subsidized drug plans. Satisfaction with the cost and choice of drugs, centerpieces of the program, remain relatively high at 72% and 71%, but these levels have fallen since earlier in the year when they each were at 75%. Meanwhile satisfaction with customer service and the ease of using plans increased from to 55% and 68%, respectively, from 53% and 64%. (See chart.) The results are more negative than seen with broad surveys of enrollees, possibly due to the self-selection of online reviewers.
“Despite all the information problems at the program’s inception, the vast majority of enrollees were initially pleased to finally have an affordable drug benefit,” said Dr. Tod Cooperman, MD, president of MedicareDrugPlans.com. “During the year, service issues improved but people began to experience drug restrictions and the infamous coverage gap, tempering their enthusiasm and lowering their overall satisfaction with the drug plans.”
Satisfaction Among Medicare Drug Plan Enrollees
Source: MedicareDrugPlans.com – “Year to Date” ratings posted 1/1/06 – 10/31/06. “Early Program” ratings posted 11/15/05 – 4/30/06.
Dr. Cooperman predicted, “With a large percentage of enrollees not satisfied with their plans, millions will use the upcoming enrollment period to consider switching plans. However, based on the reviews posted on our website, few appear likely to leave the program entirely.” To illustrate his point, the following excerpts were provided from actual postings on www.MedicareDrugPlans.com. (Plan names not shown below but appear on website.):
“My premium for 2007 will go from $50.90 per month to $80.90 and they are eliminating brand name coverage in the gap phase. This means I'm paying $30 more for less coverage. Other plans offer generic coverage through the gap phase… so that means I'll be searching for a less expensive plan.”
“Initially it took forever to get the plan coverage straightened out, but once we were enrolled, service has been pretty good and all of my husbands [sic] drugs are available. (Costly, but available). I continue to get one of my drugs from Canada because it is still cheaper there. With the new rate structure for 2007 we will have to review to find the most cost effective plan.”
“[Plan] charges a huge price (not much less than the price without this insurance). So we will have to pay my husband and I, almost the same amount each month than when without plan… We are very disappointed and would like to change plan…”
“[Plan name] offers almost any drug you can think of but then fight you tooth and nail about getting it. If it isn't an aspirin, they require a prior authorization and then reject it as not necessary, too many, or not applicable…. Run, don't walk, to any other company.”
Individuals can learn more about plans and compare them on www.MedicareDrugPlans.com. The free website provides customer ratings, reviews, cost comparisons, and open discussions of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Visitors get candid reviews from real plan members. MedicareDrugPlans.com is a division of PharmacyChecker.com, a privately held company that provides drug price comparisons and ratings of online pharmacies at www.pharmacychecker.com. PharmacyChecker.com has no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products, pharmacy benefits, or health insurance.