New Medicare Prescription Drug Program Revealed at NAHPF Forum

New Medicare Prescription Drug Program Revealed at NAHPF Forum



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Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 14, 2005–Because millions of older and disabled Americans could save money on their prescription drug spending with the new Medicare drug plan, members of the Hispanic print industry, corporate executives and Hispanic community organizations in Southern California were in attendance at the National Hispanic Press Foundation’s and AARP’s “Meet the Hispanic Press” forum held at the Los Angeles City Club. The forum revealed the public policy goals as well as the nuts and bolts of the highly anticipated new Medicare Prescription Drug Program “Part D” with enrollment beginning on November 15, 2005.

“We are proud to partner with the AARP to bring this issue to surface for all the qualifying individuals in this country,” stated Eddie Escobedo, chair of the National Hispanic Press Foundation. “We have a shared commitment to educating the Hispanics who may benefit by enrolling in these new Medicare drug plans.”

Medicare does not solve the affordability problem for everyone. To qualify for Medicare, you must be age 65 or older, or disabled for more than 2 years. In addition, an individual or their spouse must have paid ten years of Social Security taxes.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Hispanics in Medicare are more likely to need prescription drugs due to health disparities and a higher incidence of certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes. They are also less likely to have access to retiree and other forms of drug coverage. At the forum, presenters offered information on what people need to know in order to decide if they want this coverage, how and when they can enroll, and how they can tell if their current coverage is better than Medicare’s.

Medicare is providing extra help for those with limited incomes. An estimated one-third of people in Medicare will qualify for extra help to pay for their coverage. For income eligible beneficiaries, this will be either free or low cost coverage. To find out if you qualify for extra help, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov or call 1-800-325-0778.

As part of CMS’ efforts to make information about the new program available and easier to grasp, they have over a dozen English & Spanish Public Service Announcements (PSAs), articles and ads pertaining to this program available on their website at http://cmsnet.cms.hhs.gov/projects/mmacomm/advertising/#Telivision.

AARP is stepping up its efforts to help people understand the new drug coverage and make decisions by providing timely and accurate information. AARP’s free publication “The New Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage: What You Need to Know” is available in Spanish and English to members and non-members alike. This easy to understand resource will help people learn how the new plans work and how to find enrollment assistance. To order the publication, call 1-888-687-2277 or visit http://www.aarp.org. AARP’s toll-free operators can also help beneficiaries and their families get the information they need.

“AARP is excited to partner with the NAHP Foundation to provide Hispanic media the key source of information for millions of Hispanics across the country with the best available resources on the new Medicare prescription drug program,” said Ismael Ortiz, Director of Hispanic Membership Development, AARP. “This new prescription drug plan will help millions of Americans save on their prescription drug spending and provide protection against future catastrophic drug costs.”

At the forum the presenters stressed that qualifying individuals interested in enrolling should take the time to get all the information they need. Enrollment goes through May 15, 2006. However, individuals who sign up early can start saving as soon as January 2006.

From the Medicare website to state health insurance counseling programs in all 50 states, resources are in place to make enrollment easier. Medicare also has a toll-free number 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-633-4227, where people can receive all the information they need. Information is also available on line at http://www.medicare.gov.

To assist in the distribution of this information, syndicated stories about the “Meet the Hispanic Press” forum on this topic are available free of charge to publications in both English and Spanish at http://www.hispanicpress.org.

About the National Hispanic Press Foundation

The National Hispanic Press Foundation, founded in 1996, is the 501-c-3 educational charity for America’s Hispanic publishers and a sister organization of the National Association of Hispanic Publications Inc [NAHP]. Its mission is to build communities through excellence in publishing. The Foundation’s programs include an annual publication of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive Hispanic scholarship directory, a national circulation audit campaign to enhance the viability of Hispanic publications, readership studies, media research, scholarships, voter registration and educational programs, among others. For more information see http://www.scholarshipsforhispanics.org or call (202) 662-7256.

About the NAHP

Founded in 1982, the National Association of Hispanic Publications is the premier organization representing Hispanic print nationwide. The mission of the NAHP is to promote Hispanic print, the most effective medium to reach the Hispanic population. The NAHP strives to continually inform and educate the Hispanic community on social issues, educate the readership of its member publications, provide technical assistance and to improve the quality of Hispanic publications nationwide. For more information see http://www.nahp.org or call (202) 662-7250.

New Medicare Prescription Drug Program Revealed at NAHPF Forum