Response To Clinton's State Survey

Think Tank Says Elderly Can Have Drug Coverage With No Extra Cost To The Government

DALLAS (Feb. 29, 2000) – President Clinton today unveiled a state-by-state analysis on Medicare benefits to bolster support for his proposed plan to add a prescription drug benefit for seniors. However, the National Center for Policy Analysis says that the need can be met without a costly new government program.

America's seniors could have access to full prescription drug coverage without the government spending an additional dime on a costly new benefit, according to a recent NCPA study by the nation's leading actuarial firm for health benefits, Milliman & Robertson, Inc. The solution? Allow the elderly to combine Medicare funds with the money they currently spend on private insurance and pay premiums into a comprehensive private plan instead.

WHO: NCPA Health Policy Experts

WHAT: Reaction And Analysis Of Medicare & Prescription Drug Coverage

WHEN: Available Immediately

Because Medicare coverage is incomplete, seniors are exposed to significant out-of-pocket costs. About 360,000 face expenses in excess of $5,000 every year. To avoid these high costs, most seniors acquire private insurance to fill the gaps in Medicare – either through a former employer or by purchasing Medigap insurance. However, economic studies show that the two different types of coverage cause a great deal of waste. Furthermore, drugs are not covered by Medicare nor by many of the supplemental private plans.

According to the NCPA study, Medicare will spend about $5,800 on each beneficiary this year. Add to that about $1,611 for the most popular Medigap policy and the combined sum should pay for any of a range of health insurance options, all with prescription drug coverage.