IS AARP SWITCHING SIDES?

Published Online: Wednesday, February 1, 2006

AARP may be wavering in its position on drug reimportation legislation, based on an analysis conducted by the nonprofit organization. The study, "The New Math: Cheaper Than Canada? The Drug Benefit May Be the Better Deal,"evaluated the federal government's Medicare drug-plan finder.

The group compared costs under Medicare's stand-alone drug plans with potential savings from reimportation. The findings indicated that individuals who enroll in a low-cost Medicare prescription drug plan could save more than if they were to purchase the same drugs in Canada. AARP is offering its own drug plan, which already has enrolled in excess of 2 million beneficiaries.

"Millions of Americans who have never had drug coverage can now save more money through Medicare Part D, rather than turning to Canada to get their prescriptions," said Bill Novelli, AARP's chief executive officer.

AARP's about-face could prove problematic for reimportation legislation pending in Congress. Representative Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) said, "AARP is selling Medicare drug coverage, so it's not surprising that they're pushing their own product. Now they're making an apples-to-oranges comparison between Medicare drug coverage and Canadian drug prices. Seniors deserve decent drug coverage, and every American deserves lower-priced drugs."




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