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Seniors Spurn Medicare Drug Plans

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Most older U.S. residents have heard of the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program, but few know much about the program or plan to buy the coverage.[@@]

Researchers at DSS Research Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, give that assessment in a summary of results of a survey of older U.S. residents that was conducted in September.

Although enrollment begins Nov. 12 and 81% of the survey participants said they had heard some form of drug program advertising, only 10% of the participants said they were very familiar with the program. Only 15% of the participants said they are “very likely” or “definitely likely” to buy Part D coverage.

Many seniors believe that Part D coverage will be too expensive, according to DSS Research researchers.

About half of the survey participants who are unfamiliar with the program would prefer to get their information about the program from AARP, Washington, the researchers note.

For private insurers entering the program, one problem may be that survey participants who said they are in poor health are much more likely than other participants to want to participate in the Part D program, the researchers report.