Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
, made the following statement regarding HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson's announcement today of the start of the prescription drug card program:
“America's health insurance plans are proud to be a part of a new era in Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has moved quickly to begin putting an unprecedented amount of consumer information in the hands of Medicare beneficiaries to help them make the choice of a prescription drug discount card that is best for them. Additionally, beneficiaries most in need will have access to $600 in direct subsidies which they will be able to apply towards paying for their prescription drugs.
“AHIP members look forward to advancing the public-private partnership in Medicare with the start of this new program. We view this program as the right foundation for future efforts, beginning in January 2006, to launch private sector participation in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program.
“Our members are in the unique position of being able to offer Medicare Advantage plans to hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries across the country. Some will be offering “national” and “regional” drug cards as well so that millions of beneficiaries will be able to access the discounted prices. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on beneficiary education and outreach efforts designed to promote enrollment by beneficiaries in the cards that offer the greatest value, ensure that low-income beneficiaries know about the assistance they can receive, and improve access to prescription drugs in the short term.”