New Study Reveals Medicare Part D Confusing to Caregivers

People Caring for Aging Parents Play an Active Role in Managing Parents' Medications; Need Better Information on Plan Coverage and Enrollment Process

SAN MATEO, CA (December 3, 2009) A new study from Caring.com revealed at least a third of its members are caring for aging parents or loved ones enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and among this group, only half are aware of how and where to enroll in the program and less than half (40%) aware of what it covers.

With the deadline for Medicare Open Enrollment one month away, Caring.com is urging caregivers to help their loved ones find ways to save on medications - starting with this year's annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D.

While an estimated 26 million beneficiaries are receiving prescription drug benefits through Medicare Part D plans, many are not choosing the lowest cost plan available to them and more than 600,000 will be required to change plans due to the cancellation of Medicare Advantage Private Fee For Service plans.

"As caregivers continue to play an active role in managing their loved ones' medications, it's important for them to review their loved ones existing Part D plan and re-enroll or select a new program if coverage has changed. Taking the time to do this can help ensure the person they are caring for continues to receive coverage for their prescription drugs and save both the caregiver and their loved one money," said Andy Cohen, co-founder and CEO, Caring.com.

The new survey conducted among 560 visitors to Caring.com in September 14 thru September 28, 2009 also found the following:

  • Caregivers are bearing some of the financial burden for their loved one's medication costs;
  • More than a quarter of (or nearly 3 in 10) had helped pay for medications;
  • Among those who had helped pay for medications, 4 in 10 paid $500 or more during the past year; and
  • Many respondents were contributing to the point of giving up "extras."

Caring.com offers a variety of resources to help understand Medicare Part D, including a guide on how to choose the right Medicare Part D plan. Additionally, a new partnership with DestinationRx has made it easier for Caring.com members to find and enroll in a Medicare plan for their loved ones. This resource is also available by calling toll free (866) 754-8955. The call center is 8 am to 8 pm EST 7 days per week.