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Kaiser Health Poll Report Survey: Seniors’ Early Experiences with Their New Medicare Drug Plans – June 2006

Kaiser Health Poll Report Survey: Seniors’ Early Experiences With Their New Medicare Drug Plans – June 2006

More than eight in 10 seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare drug plan are satisfied with their plan, although almost two in 10 say they encountered a major problem in using it, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking survey of seniors’ experiences under the new Medicare drug benefit.

The survey of 1,585 seniors, including 623 who are enrolled in a new Medicare Part D drug plan, reveals that, for most seniors, initial experiences under the drug benefit have been positive. About three in four seniors who are enrolled in a drug plan would choose the same plan again.

The survey also finds that about a third (34%) of seniors who have used their plan had experiences that they perceived as a problem — with 18% describing it as a “major problem” and 16% describing it as a “minor problem.” The experiences cited as problems include having to pay unexpected costs, leaving the pharmacy without being able to fill a prescription, not receiving their enrollment card and having to switch drugs because one wasn’t covered. Some seniors also cited having to switch from a brand-name to a generic drug as a problem, though others who reported such an experience did not consider it to be a problem.

Seniors’ Early Experiences With Their Medicare Drug Plans — the 13th in a series that comprises three large surveys and ten smaller tracking polls — was conducted and analyzed by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Fieldwork by PSRAI occurred between June 8 and June 18, 2006, among a nationally representative random sample of 1,585 adults ages 65 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.

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