Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Seniors confusedabout theiroptions underthe new MedicarePart D drugbenefit may notbe getting muchhelp from theexplanations putout by the government'sCenters for Medicare &Medicaid Services (CMS), investigatorswith the congressional GovernmentAccountability Office (GAO) charged.

In a new report on the quality ofinformation put out by CMS to explainPart D, GAO researchers concluded thatthe agency may be leaving manyMedicare recipients confused aboutthe program. The CMS documents preparedto explain the program to seniors"used too much technical jargon andoften did not define difficult terms, suchas formulary," said the GAO officials.

Moreover, whereas 40% of thenation's seniors read at or below the5th-grade level, "the reading levels ofthese [Part D] documents ranged from7th grade to postcollege," the reportsaid. Although the literature producedby CMS to explain the Part D benefitwas "largely complete and accurate," the information "lacked clarity," theGAO investigators said.