Opponents of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit often claim that "the dizzying array of choices is overloading beneficiaries and discouraging them from signing up" ("Changes in drug benefit weighed," March 15).
But choice is exactly what is giving some seniors a better deal than anyone anticipated when Congress drafted the drug benefit.
The private plans offering coverage are competing intensely for customers,
And seniors are reaping the rewards.
One prescription drug plan costs as little as $1.87 a month in premiums. Others eliminate the $250 deductible so seniors get first-dollar coverage. And still others are providing drug coverage for the dreaded "doughnut hole," the gap in the standard plan in which insurance coverage is interrupted between low and high drug expenses.
Seniors have until May 15 to sign up. And the wide variety of choices gives them an opportunity to find a plan that's ideally suited to their prescription needs.
The writer is president of the Galen Institute, a nonprofit research organization that studies health care policy.