GAO faults drug plan sponsor call center responses

July 17, 2006

Medicare prescription drug plans generally provided incomplete and inaccurate information to callers who asked questions about the new benefit, according to a new GAO report entitled "Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plan Sponsor Call Center Responses Were Prompt, but Not always Accurate." Investigators placed 900 calls to 10 of the largest companies that offer drug coverage to Medicare beneficiaries and reached representatives in 864 of those calls.

GAO faults drug plan sponsor call center responses

Medicare prescription drug plans generally provided incomplete and inaccurate information to callers who asked questions about the new benefit, according to a new GAO report entitled "Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plan Sponsor Call Center Responses Were Prompt, but Not always Accurate." Investigators placed 900 calls to 10 of the largest companies that offer drug coverage to Medicare beneficiaries and reached representatives in 864 of those calls. GAO found that the plans provided accurate, complete responses to one-third of the calls, or 294 of the 864. Twenty-two percent of the 864 responses were inaccurate, 29% were incomplete, and no answers were provided to the other questions. The report can be found at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06710high.pdf.

Commenting on the report, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) stated, "The GAO analysis of call centers scored Medicare Part D plans on their ability to discuss some information that customer service representatives are expressly forbidden from providing under regulations governing the program and responses to vague and misleading questions that are not representative of questions posed by real beneficiaries. This report is a missed opportunity by the GAO to create an informed and accurate record of beneficiaries' experiences with Medicare Part D and will be misused by opponents of the program."

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