Wednesday, May 10, 2006—United Health Foundation:

-- RainbowPUSH Coalition and United Health Foundation partner to help Cleveland residents understand Medicare Part D benefits

-- Savings available but enrollment deadline fast approaching

-- Experts convened to help seniors and caregivers make decisions on their prescription drug needs

Medicare beneficiaries in Ohio could save an average of $1,400 on their yearly prescription costs under the new Medicare drug program; they just have to sign up. And, many individuals in Ohio with lower incomes qualify for assistance to help them pay for their drug costs.

Despite these facts, as the May 15 enrollment deadline fast approaches, a significant percentage of the state’s Medicare-eligible population have not yet enrolled in the new prescription drug benefit and will not be able to take advantage of the savings.

Due to this low response rate locally and nationally, the RainbowPUSH Coalition is partnering with United Health Foundation to facilitate a national educational effort to make certain Medicare beneficiaries have the information and tools they need to understand the new drug benefit and make informed decisions.

The final forum is being convened here in Cleveland on May 15 by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, the United Health Foundation and the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. The educational session is for caregivers, ministers, family members, and others who are called on to help Medicare beneficiaries understand the new prescription drug benefit.

“The new Medicare drug benefit can be very confusing - but if you do it right, you can benefit,” says Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition. “Many elderly, poor and disabled people are confused by the new Medicare prescription drug options and we need to help them.”

Part D Outreach Campaign
Monday, May 15, 2006, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
8712 Quincy Avenue, Cleveland, OH

Panelists at the event will address various aspects of the new Medicare drug benefit, with individualized help available during the session. Participation is expected from churches, rehabilitation and assisted-living facilities, local pharmacists, advocacy groups and community-based organizations.

“We hope Clevelanders will join us on the 15th,” says the Reverend Otis Moss, Jr., pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, host of the Cleveland event. “We hope to help our seniors and caregivers have the information necessary to make a decision which meets their prescription needs and at the same time saves them money. There are many options to fit every individual’s needs.”

The program will help seniors to understand the benefits of the Medicare Drug Program and feature a panel of experts to discus the advantages and answer audience questions. Following the seminar, one-on-one counseling will be available for individual consumers with several of the health plans in Northeast Ohio.

“It is critical that people enroll in a Part D program so they can begin to save money on their prescriptions,” says former Congressman Louis Stokes. “To do otherwise will cost them more money. The process may be complicated, but hopefully we can help our seniors better understand their benefits under this new prescription drug program. As a better educated consumer they can save money.”

Trained health care experts, including pharmacists, will be on hand to talk with individuals about their prescription drug medications. Also on hand will be Medicare beneficiaries who have enrolled in Part D drug plans who can share their personal experiences using the new drug benefit.

Adult children, caregivers and others are being encouraged to attend the event in order to assist their parents and loved ones in understanding the new drug program and the enrollment process.

Individuals who are eligible but choose not to enroll prior to the May 15th enrollment deadline will incur a late enrollment penalty.
Equally important, they will not be able to receive prescription drug coverage under Medicare until January 1, 2007.

About RainbowPUSH

The RainbowPUSH Coalition ( is a progressive organization which seeks to protect, defend and gain civil rights, to even the economic and educational playing fields in all aspects of American life, and to bring peace to the world. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago.