Governor Urges Congressional Delegation to Work To Extend Deadline for Seniors To Enroll in Medicare Part D

From the Office of Governor John Lynch

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch is urging New Hampshire's Congressional delegation to work with their colleagues and with the White House to extend the May 15th deadline for seniors to enroll in Medicare Part D.

As the Medicare Part D law is now written, eligible seniors must enroll by May 15th or pay an additional 1 percent penalty on top of their premiums for every month they delay enrolling.

In New Hampshire, Gov. Lynch issued an Executive Order and the legislature passed a bill to allow the state to provide emergency assistance to some seniors who weren't able to get their prescription drugs because of implementation problems with the new federal government. The assistance was available to people who had been receiving prescription drug assistance through the state until the new federal program began on Jan. 1.

"While the problem is slowly improving, New Hampshire seniors still face a confusing array of challenges and choices when it comes to enrollment and choosing the right plan," Gov. Lynch wrote New Hampshire's Congressional delegation.

"That's why I believe it is critical that the federal government extend the enrollment deadline and eliminate the penalty charge for seniors who fail to enroll by May 15, 2006," he wrote. "Seniors should not be pushed into making a decision that may end up being the wrong one for them because of an artificial deadline."

A copy of Gov. Lynch's letter is attached.



March 22, 2006



The Honorable Judd Gregg
United States Senate
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Congressman Gregg:

I write today to urge you to work to extend the deadline for seniors to sign up for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

As I know you are aware, the implementation of Medicare Part D has caused serious problems all across the country and certainly here in New Hampshire. I have issued two executive orders and our state passed emergency legislation to ensure that our dual eligibles can get their prescription drugs. While the problem is slowly improving, New Hampshire seniors still face a confusing array of challenges and choices when it comes to enrollment and choosing the right plan.

That's why I believe it is critical that the federal government extend the enrollment deadline and eliminate the penalty charge for seniors who fail to enroll by May 15, 2006. Seniors should not be pushed into making a decision that may end up being the wrong one for them because of an artificial deadline.

I trust you will agree that extending the enrollment deadline and eliminating the penalty charge is an important step, given the problems our seniors have had with the introduction of Medicare Part D. I urge you to work with your colleagues in the House and Senate, and in the White House, on this important issue.

Sincerely,

John H. Lynch
Governor