The following sites have numerous resources that can be helpful for advocates, consumers, and state legislators:
The following resources are designed to help consumers understand the benefit or make choices about whether to sign up and which plan to join.
- The Access to Benefits Coalition Web site, http://www.accesstobenefits.org, can help you see if you’re eligible for low-income help and can direct you to other resources.
- The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare's Web site, www.medicare.gov, has several sources for consumers. Unfortunately, as of the end of October, the pages with information on drug plans were incomplete. Hopefully, the site will be completed before plan enrollment begins on November 15. If you find the information on this Web site confusing or incomplete, you should contact counselors in your state. You can locate counselors online at http://www.healthassistancepartnership.org/ship-locator/.
- The Eldercare Locator, a service of the Administration on Aging, has dedicated a section of its Web site to helping those with Medicare understand the new drug benefit. That section can be found at http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare/Public/medicare.asp.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation produces a weekly Q&A column explaining the basics of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. The columns provide advice for people on Medicare and their families. Site visitors can send questions to the Foundation, which will respond to some of them in future columns. You can access these columns online at http://www.kff.org/medicare/QA/index.cfm and send your questions to MedicareQ@kff.org.
- The Medicare Access for Patients-RX is a coalition of patient, family caregiver, and health professional organizations committed to safeguarding patients with chronic diseases and disabilities under the new Medicare prescription drug coverage. The site, at http://www.maprx.info, has numerous links, both general and state-specific, that can put you in touch with organizations that might be able to help you sort through plan choices.
- The Medicare Rights Center has resources to help those in Medicare understand the drug benefit http://www.medicarerights.org/101.html and to help with selecting a drug plan http://www.medicarerights.org/comparing_plans_flier.pdf.
- The National Mental Health Association has prepared a consumer workbook that is available online at http://www.nmha.org/federal/MedicareConsumerWorkbook.pdf.
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors can provide individualized counseling and help you assess what drug plan—if any—might be best for you given your situation. You can find the program in your state online at
- United Cerebral Palsy has published a guide to help people with disabilities maximize their Medicare Part D drug coverage. "Navigating the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Program: A Guide for People with Disabilities, Benefits Counselors, Disability Organizations and Others on Ensuring Adequate and Appropriate Access to Prescription Drugs" is available online at http://www.ucp.org/ucp_channeldoc.cfm/1/16/10527/10527-10527/6618.
In addition to the general resources listed above, these resources might be helpful to advocates.
The following sources are aimed at state legislators.
- The National Conference of State Legislators’ (NCSL) Web site provides an overview of what states are doing to coordinate with Medicare Part D at http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/2005-MMAbills-NCSL.htm.
- NCSL will have a tool geared to state legislators that links to many materials covering Medicare Part D. This tool is being developed in conjunction with CMS and can be accessed at http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/MedicareRx.htm.
- The National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices has information on what states are doing related to Medicare Part D as well as on a wide range of initiatives to reduce drug prices, available at http://www.nlarx.org.
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health has created a bilingual hotline to assist individuals with the Medicare Part D enrollment process. Individuals can receive one on one counseling, assistance in applying for low income subsidies, and help in finding a plan to meet their individual needs. Hotline is available Monday - Friday from 8:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET. The number to call is 1-866-783-2645.
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