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Implementing the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan: Resources from the Experts


For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2006
Contact: Jilll Braunstein (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC—Beginning this month, the Medicare program is offering to help pay the prescription drug costs of 43 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country.The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), an organization that has been studying Medicare for twenty years, offers background resources for those interested learning more.All these resources can be downloaded from www.nasi.org.

At the Academy's 18th annual conference earlier this month, experts examined the progress made in signing up Medicare beneficiaries and paying for their prescriptions since the start of enrollment in November. Speakers included Karen Ignagni, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans; Trudy Lieberman, Director of the Consumers Union's Center for Consumer Health Choices; Marilyn Moon, president of NASI; and journalist Bob Rosenblatt. The audio web cast of Implementing Medicare Part D: The First 60 Days is available from www.nasi.org The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 provides new federal funding to encourage private health plans to expand their participation in Medicare and offer prescription drug coverage. Two Academy publications provide background on the role that private health plans play in Medicare: Payment and Participation: A Renaissance for Medicare's Private Health Plans? and The Role of Private Health Plans in Medicare: Lessons From the Past, Looking to the Future.

Forty years ago the government enrolled the first beneficiaries in the original Medicare program—an enormous educational and logistical effort.How smoothly did things go in 1965?What really happened?Reflections on Implementing Medicare contains interviews with the two key officials responsible for implementing Medicare—Robert M. Ball, Commissioner of Social Security, and Arthur E. Hess, Director of the Bureau of Health Insurance at the Social Security Administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—the agency responsible for managing Medicare—faces a daunting task in implementing the new prescription drug legislation.What demands were being placed on CMS before the prescription drug plan?What can be done to help CMS operate more efficiently? Improving Medicare's Governance and Management provides some suggestions.
In addition to these reports, the NASI website offers a Medicare Sourcebook, a primer written by journalist Bob Rosenblatt that explains the program's history, benefits, and financing.The Sourcebook includes a list of Medicare experts to contact for more information.

NASI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas.

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