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Elderly Sue Over Medicare Drug Program Enrollment Process

  • April 28th, 2006

A group of low-income seniors and their advocates have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the Medicare program failed to properly enroll millions of low-income seniors and disabled individuals into its new drug program. The seniors claim that, as a result, they cannot get the medicine they need. The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court in Northern California to order the Medicare program to resolve the problems.

More than 6 million low-income seniors and disabled individuals who had drug coverage under Medicaid were supposed to be automatically enrolled in Medicare drug plans at the beginning of the year. However, the enrollment process encountered many problems due to database and other errors. The lawsuit claims the government did not make sure that the people eligible for the benefit actually signed up for the benefit as required by Congress, leaving many without benefits to this day.

The government claims the problems are in the past, but according to the lawsuit many individuals are still either unable to obtain benefits or paying high co-payments. According to the Associated Press, the lawyers worry that because of the mistakes, the health of many elderly beneficiaries may be at risk. The seniors are represented by the National Senior Citizens Law Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

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Last Modified: 04/28/2006

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