Isles see no drug sign-up rush
A last-minute rush of Medicare beneficiaries signing up for the new Part D prescription drug program by midnight Monday didn't happen here.
Volunteers worked on Mother's Day to take calls from seniors who hadn't yet decided on a drug plan, but "it was pretty quiet over the weekend," said Pamela Cunningham, coordinator of Sage PLUS, the health information arm of the Executive Office on Aging.
Phone calls were steady during the day Monday, and there were a few calls between 6 and 10 p.m., but "it was a lot quieter than I thought it would be," Cunningham said.
She noted, however, that the volume of calls to (800) MEDICARE hit record levels Monday.
"Hopefully, people who really, really needed it got enrolled," Cunningham said.
The volunteers received no angry calls from people saying they had wanted to sign up and didn't, she added.
In a fact sheet issued yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said more than 38 million people with Medicare -- 90 percent of all beneficiaries -- had signed up for prescription drug plans, and totals still were being tabulated.
Hawaii officials have said that many of the 186,000 isle Medicare beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage through government or union retirement plans. Some still working have drug coverage through employee plans.
An estimated 30,000 beneficiaries were believed eligible to choose a drug plan by the midnight deadline Monday.