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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Medicare Part D and Secretary Leavitt's Parents

Oops - looks like just about everyone is having difficulty figuring out the new Medicare Part D program, including HHS Secretary Leavitt's parents.  Accourding to the Salt Lake Tribune,

Not even the senior parents of Washington's top health official are immune from headaches caused by the new Medicare drug plan.  Dixie and Anne Leavitt - parents of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt - recently were forced to change Medicare plans after learning that the one they chose imperiled their retiree medical coverage.

The elder Leavitts joined the program last fall with some fanfare and help from their son. Anne Leavitt, 73, was quoted in The Salt Lake Tribune touting the online enrollment as "smooth," and a guaranteed money-saver.

Neither she nor Dixie, 76 - who made his fortune in the insurance business - could be reached for comment on Thursday. But they reportedly suffered no real lapse in coverage. Secretary Leavitt's office confirmed that the couple signed up for another Medicare plan through their insurer, Utah's Public Employee Health Plan.

But the blunder is sure to prove fodder for critics who have labeled the drug benefit "plagued" with problems, from computer failures to overcharging for prescriptions. Troubles have been most acute for millions of low-income seniors and disabled people who were automatically transferred from their state Medicaid plans into Medicare plans that didn't cover their medications.

Thanks to americablog for the cite.  [bm]

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