Controversy Remains Over Prescription Medicare
They've been complaining for 50 years that prescription medicines ought to be paid for by Medicare. But now that it is possible, controversy remains. For Charles and Frances Thomas, not applying for Medicare isn't an option.
"Because the plan I've got with, uh, where I used to work has cancelled us out and we've got to go in with a new plan so they advised us to go with Medicare," Charles says.
They have until January first. They say prescriptions are such a big part of their bills that they need the Medicare coverage.
"We have got to have it, we have got to have it," Frances says.
But with so many different plans, choosing one is anything but a clear decision.
"I don't really know how simple they are, but I hope they're simple," Charles says.
But this is not a bandwagon everyone seems to be jumping on. In fact, according to a recent poll, three out of every four seniors eligible for prescription Medicare are not planning to enroll.
Pauline McNeil says she'll stick with her old plan.
"Because I worked for the city and I have prescription drug with my city insurance," McNeil says.
Meanwhile, the Thomas' will attend an informational class to decide between their choices. Senator Jim Talent and his staff will host informational meetings in 15 cities across Missouri including Camdenton, Moberly and Warrensburg.
And while today marks the first day you can join a Medicare Prescription plan, other important dates are littered in months to come.
January 1st of 2006 marks the beginning of coverage for people who have joined by December 31st.
May 15th is the last day to join a plan for coverage during 2006.
And November 15th to December 31st of next year is the next opportunity to enroll in a plan.