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AARP Applauds Medicare Decision to Eliminate Late-Fee

AARP today applauded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for eliminating the Medicare prescription drug plan late enrollment penalty for certain low-income people for 2007.

“This penalty waiver will help bring more affordable prescription drugs to those who need them most,” said AARP Director of Advocacy David Sloane. “Though we are pleased with this announcement, we would also like to see CMS work with Congress to eliminate the late enrollment penalty for all eligible Medicare participants who did not enroll in the prescription drug program during the 2006 start-up year.”

People who do not enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan before their enrollment deadline are usually assessed a late fee. Under the new CMS directive, certain low-income people who use Medicare can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan with no penalty through December 31, 2007.

In addition to advocating for the penalty waiver, AARP is also working to eliminate the asset test that has been a barrier to low-income enrollment and to give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to negotiate lower drug costs on behalf of the more the 44 million Americans in the Medicare program.

People who are interested in learning more about their Medicare prescription drug coverage can contact 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

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