Medicare: Many did not sign up for Plan D

May 21, 2006|by CANDICE BOSLEY
(Page 2 of 2)

Lawmakers have indicated they plan to introduce a bill waiving the penalty.

As of now, those who did not sign up by the deadline will face a penalty equal to 1 percent of the national average premium for each month of delay.

The penalty will not be applied to low-income seniors.

Eversole said she is watching the headlines, hoping the penalty will be eliminated for everyone.

"That will make me happy," she said. "I don't think that seniors should be penalized in a very complicated program."

The Bush administration has asked lawmakers who want to eliminate the penalty to be patient, saying that final enrollment numbers should be tallied before any legislation is introduced, the Associated Press reported.

Final enrollment figures could be available sometime this week, a Medicare spokeswoman said.

The extra miles

Yes, there were and will continue to be problems, but many agree that Part D is a good plan that will allow people to save money on their prescriptions.


Here, preparation trumped panic.

"On the whole, I think it went smoothly for Washington County because we took the bull by the horns," Eversole said.

On Monday - the deadline - Commission on Aging officials said they were expecting a crowd of people. Instead, about 15 people came in, Eversole said.

She said she hopes so few people turned out on the last day to enroll because the Commission on Aging adequately had apprised seniors and other Medicare recipients of the program.

"I didn't see the panic that other parts of the country did," she said.

Eversole began planning for Part D's implementation in January 2004, and said it has been the biggest challenge of her career.

Her husband of 35 years, Greg Eversole, an elementary school teacher, helped her through some rough times and became well-versed in Part D.

He talked to the cafeteria workers in his school about the drug plan, and forwarded e-mails to his wife for her to answer.

For those still experiencing problems, Eversole said that she will help whenever she can. She suggested that those with problems first call their plan provider since officials with the plans will know more about each person's situation than she does.

Although Eversole shrugged off any lauding of her work with Part D, the executive director of the Commission on Aging wanted to publicly praise her.

"Her level of preparation and planning and plain hard work are really exemplary," Susan MacDonald said. "(She went) like a hundred extra miles, rather than just the extra mile."

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