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“Medicare Today” Launches Grassroots Campaign to Educate Seniors

Seniors who may be apprehensive about Medicare’s new prescription-drug benefit have an ally: Medicare Today. An organization comprising over 200 affiliates, Medicare Today has announced a massive outreach campaign to provide US senior citizens with clear, concise information about Medicare’s new provisions.

Medicare Today affiliates include high-profile organizations such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospice Foundation, Wal-Mart and the US Chamber of Commerce.

A poll by American Viewpoint suggests that the majority seniors require much more information about the new prescription drug benefit, which goes into effect on January 1, 2005. The poll, taken in November 2004 (almost a year after Congress enacted the Medicare Modernization Act), showed that a staggering 51% of Americans aged 55 years and older “had not seen, read or heard anything about the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.”

The Medicare Today mission is to inform seniors about how they can use Medicare. As stated on their website, “The Medicare Today message is positive, nonpolitical and positioned as essential public outreach to seniors who need reliable information on how to get the greatest value from the new Medicare benefits.”

Their comprehensive outreach program targets seniors in a personal fashion, through a wide variety of community organizations, such as senior centers, service organizations, rotary clubs, local disease support-groups, “lunch and learn” sessions (particularly for caregivers and their families), and retiree divisions of companies.

To ensure credibility and consistency of their message, the organization will also target health-care reporters, business reporters, television stations, radio news and talkback programs and broad-interest consumer magazines, such as Reader’s Digest and Parade.

The campaign is expected to accelerate after Labor Day and will showcase information sessions and events across the US.

"Millions of Americans stand to have their health and their finances improved through Medicare’s new prescription drug program, and we want to ensure that no Medicare beneficiary misses out on these important benefits because they have unanswered questions," reported Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, in a PR Newswire article published on July 14.

"We are going to provide factual, nonpolitical information to help beneficiaries make informed decisions about how the new drug coverage may meet their specific health needs and affect their pocketbooks."

Medicare Today believes that the planned period of intensive, nationwide education may help to raise awareness of the benefit, before the enrolment period starts on November 15.

For more information about Medicare Today’s campaign and partners, please visit the Medicare Today website.

The Medicare Today website.

Posted: July 2005