As stated in other diaries, rationale for the shift from Medicaid to Medicare D was that those who are eligible to receive Medicare D would be able to exercise their right to “choose” the plan that would cover their rx’s. In reality, the opportunity to chose has been made extremely confusing for many.
As claimed here,
this was made impossible for many senior citizens and people with disabilities. Those who did call (800) MEDICARE were told to go online to determine which of the plans that was/is offered covered all of their rx’s.
Something very important regarding the populations that Medicare D was supposed to benefit was not adequately addressed, specifically,
many seniors dislike computers
and the fact that there is a large number of people who do not own/have immediate access to a computer. (I was in the latter position during the enrollment period, as I did not have access to a computer and I had pneumonia.)
Also, many people with disabilities do not have immediate access to a computer, or the knowledge of how to use one, let alone surf the net. The cost of owning a computer, with the necessary software (open-source software is not always an option), and, the cost of an internet connection is out of reach for many.
However, some may claim that the use of a public terminal, such as the library, is enough for a person to decide which Medicare D plan to enroll in. The following must be considered:
The Web site produces some very helpful recommendations, but it will take the average person 45 minutes to two hours to get to them, said Jerry Maher, a Part D expert for the Minnesota Senior Federation.
“This is not sending your grandchild an e-mail,” he said. “This is entering data and then doing analysis. … If you’re 88 years old and you have cataracts and arthritis, you aren’t going to do it.”
It is necessary now to point out that, having had to use a public terminal (at the library) there is now a one hour time limit before the internet connection is closed. This can be extended in some cases, however, it is necessary to log in again, and return to the site that one was previously at, taking up more of the time alloted.
Again, the repeated insistence on the use of the internet to determine what policy would best cover medications was an obstacle that was never addressed. Instead, it was assumed that everyone had full internet knowledge, while, in fact the opposite is true.
Warren and Marilyn Gladitsch of Forest Lake. They are well educated — Marilyn has a master’s degree in public health. But they haven’t needed the Web before, and they won’t become silver surfers now.
“My husband doesn’t even want to touch the computer,” said Marilyn Gladitsch, 74.
Consider for a moment, those who are residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities as they were dependent on a(n) (overworked) case manager to best determine their medical needs. And, consider those who are physically incapable of using a computer. Third, many who commented in the previous diaries that I have posted re: Medicare D have mentioned the difficulties that they were having in determining a plan/obtaining information re: Medicare D plans.
A poll released…[in November]…by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that only 6 percent of responding seniors have ever looked at www.medicare.gov and that only 24 percent have ever used the Internet.
(I would guess that the percentage of people with disabilities who had never looked at the medicare website or used a computer is probably higher.)
Reconsidering the lack of computer literacy in the popultions that Medicare D was to serve, is it any wonder that it has not worked for those it was supposed to?