The number of low-income enrollees in the Medicare drug discountcard program is falling short, according to Health and Human ServicesSecretary Tommy G. Thompson. Although thousands of disabled andolder Americans with low income are enrolled or in the process, Thompsonsaid, "We are somewhat concerned that the low-income seniors, whichthis card is easily going to be helpful to, have not signed up in the numbersthat they have. We are going to be putting all-court pressure on themto sign up."
Yet, this pressure does not include automatically enrolling a larger groupof poorer Medicare beneficiaries. Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, administrator ofthe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that automatic enrollmentwould be a consideration if recruitment falls short of its goal.
As of press time, meanwhile, Thompson noted that all but about ahalf million of the 2.87 million cards approved by the government so farhave been issued to individuals who participate in Medicare managed careplans. They were automatically enrolled in the card offered by their insurer.