Bradley Introduces Legislation to Waive Penalty on Late Enrollmen t in Medicare Prescription Drug Program Until 2007

From The Office of Congressman Jeb Bradley

For Immediate Release - Thursday, April 27, 2006

Contact - Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-5456

(Washington, D.C.) - First District Congressman Jeb Bradley has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would waive the late enrollment penalty for the Medicare prescription drug program until January 1, 2007. Currently, senior citizens have until May 15th to sign up for a prescription drug plan under Medicare without penalty. Given the confusion expressed by some seniors about enrollment and the recent problems associated with its implementation, Bradley introduced the legislation to ensure that seniors have adequate time to properly enroll in a drug plan without worrying about having to pay a penalty. This is the third piece of legislation Bradley has introduced to remedy implementation problems associated with the new prescription drug benefit.

"Many of New Hampshire's seniors are already seeing significant savings on their prescription drugs as a result of this new program. Recent reports show that the top 25 drugs purchased by seniors are experiencing 35% discounts at retail pharmacies and46% discounts through mail order. However, many seniors still have questions and concerns about the enrollment process," stated Bradley. "Since extending the enrollment deadline is not likely to happen, we should at least waive the late enrollment penalty until after the next open enrollment period. The intent of my legislation is to ensure that if seniors do not enroll in a plan before May 15th, they will not be penalized before the next open enrollment period begins."

In February, Bradley introduced legislation that will extend the enrollment deadline for three months. Bradley has also introduced legislation that would eliminate barriers in the law that preclude the federal government from reimbursing New Hampshire and other states for emergency expenditures for Medicare Part D.

State Senate Majority Leader Robert Clegg stated, "I applaud Congressman Bradley for his leadership on resolving the problems surrounding the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. His efforts will help many seniors across the Granite State to select a prescription drug plan that makes sense for them."

Speaker of the N.H. House of Representatives Doug Scamman stated, "I commend Congressman Bradley for his leadership on Medicare Part D issues. He has been there to step up when reform is needed and his continued efforts to waive the first year penalty will help seniors in our state."

"Adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare will enable seniors to live longer, healthier lives. I look forward to continuing to work with State Senate and House leaders, as well as the Governor, in making sure that our seniors get the prescription medications they need," concluded Bradley.