Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered

April 17, 2006

Consumers view the new drug benefit with caution, concern, and some optimism

At a glance

In this consumer survey, four out of 10 respondents reported that they either had signed up for a Medicare drug plan (33.5%) or planned to enroll in one (5.4%). Another 21.2% had not decided yet, claiming they needed more information before making a decision, while another 39.9% said they did not plan to sign up for a drug plan.

Some felt they had no choice when it came to deciding whether they would participate in Medicare Part D. "I had to because I was enrolled in Medicaid," noted one person. "They said if I didn't [join Part D], I would be fined," explained another. "I decided to sign up for something that I did not understand and did not know where to go for help," said another respondent. There was also this poi-gnant explanation: "I had nothing; now I have something."