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Seniors Choose Canada Prescription Drugs Over Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Benefits of either option depend on annual drug expenses

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Seniors are not rushing to join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Of the 14.3 million people who enrolled in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan since January 1, 2006, only 3.6 million have signed up on their own.

This is troubling to some insurance experts, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. The balance of people who joined the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan were automatically transferred from state Medicaid programs, or they already had prescription drug plan coverage through Medicare Advantage HMOs.

The Times reports that for seniors with certain levels of medical expenses, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan will save significant amounts of money, but many other seniors find the best deals by purchasing Canada prescription drugs.

Highlights of the story:

  • Many seniors have not signed up for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan because they find it too confusing.
  • Many seniors are willing to risk paying a penalty for not joining the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan by the enrollment deadline of May 15, 2006 because they are believe they save more money without the program.
  • While Medicare spokespeople say they are on track with expected numbers of seniors enrolling in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, the Kaiser Foundation reports that if more healthy seniors do not sign up the program could be in trouble, causing premiums to go up and some insurance companies to opt-out.
  • Seniors who benefit most from the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan are those who spend between $1,500 and $3,000 per year, or more than $6,400 per year.
  • Some seniors purchase the cheapest Medicare Prescription Drug Plan policy they can find to cover themselves in case of catastrophic medication expenses, but continue to purchase Canada prescription drugs day-to-day.
  • Many other seniors have consciously chosen not to join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan because they prefer to purchase Canada prescription drugs, which save them more money.
  • About half of the estimated $1.5 billion in foreign drugs that are imported into the U.S. each year come from Canada.
  • Seniors who benefit most from buying Canada prescription drugs are those who spend either less than $1,500, or between $3,000 and $6,400 each year.

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