DATE: June 1, 2006
TO: Concerned Parties
FROM: Bruce Gordon, NAACP President & CEO Hilary O. Shelton, Director, Washington Bureau
NAACP CONTINUES TO SUPPORT EXTENSION OF MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG SIGN-UP PERIOD AND WAIVING OF PENALTY FEES FOR LATE ENROLLMENT
Under current law, senior citizens who did not enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan by May 15 will not have another chance to sign up until November of this year. However, as a result of their not signing up prior to the deadline they will incur a 7% surcharge on their premiums that will be applied for the rest of their lives.
The NAACP has been working across the nation to educate and help the intended beneficiaries make informed decisions about this program since the enrollment period began. We have consistently found that many Americans who are eligible for this program had not signed up by the deadline. Sorting through the available information on Medicare Part D has proven to be a difficult, confusing and time-consuming task to the very seniors who stand to gain the most from this program. Thus the NAACP strongly supports legislation that would extend the Medicare Part D deadline from May 15 through the end of the year and waive any penalties associated with late enrollment.
By extending the deadline through the end of the year, groups such as the NAACP can continue to reach out to senior citizens and ensure that all Americans who are eligible for the benefits under Medicare Part D have a sufficient amount of time, information and assistance in making informed decisions regarding their prescription drug coverage. This extension is vital if we are going to begin to truly address some of the racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare in our Nation, particularly among our elderly.
Congresswoman Donna Christensen (US Virgin Islands) has introduced legislation on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus (H.R. 5263) to extend the deadline for enrollment through the end of the year and waive the lifetime penalty surcharge for late enrollment. Other members of the House and Senate have introduced bills to extend the enrollment deadline or which would allow seniors to sign up in November without incurring the 7% lifetime surcharge penalty. To view the entire Action Alert please click here.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT MATTER!!! If you have any questions, call Hilary Shelton at the Washington Bureau at (202) 463-2940.
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