In their guest column, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Jeffrey Lewis complain that the new Medicare drug plan has turned out to be even more confusing and more inefficient than its critics predicted ("Drug plan proves a bitter pill for seniors," Feb. 24).
But seniors should not give up. One reason they are confused is because they have more and better choices than anyone anticipated when the drug benefit was being crafted by Congress.
For example, one prescription drug plan costs as little as $1.87 a month in premiums. Others eliminate the $250 deductible before coverage kicks in so seniors get first-dollar coverage. And still others are providing drug coverage in the dreaded doughnut hole that Kerry and Lewis are so concerned about, the gap in the standard plan where insurance coverage is interrupted between low and high drug expenses.
The plans offering coverage are competing intensely for beneficiaries to sign up. And the Medicare agency is working feverishly to fix problems and expand capacity. Seniors have until May to sign up. The only bad choice is likely to be not making any choice at all.
– Grace-Marie Turner, President Galen Institute, Alexandria, Va.
The Galen Institute is a nonprofit, free-market research organization devoted to health policy.