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launch “Medicare Road Show”

launch “Medicare Road Show”

Gay Men's Health Crisis and the New York AIDS Coalition this week announced the details of their statewide "Medicare Road Show," a series of presentations for HIV-positive Medicare beneficiaries, caseworkers, and advocates who want to learn more about the new Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The addition of Part D to Medicare is the most dramatic change to the program since its inception and is likely to have a significant impact on the estimated 10,000-20,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers who are enrolled in Medicare.

"This 'Road Show' is the best way for GMHC and NYAC to spread the word as quickly as possible that Medicare is changing, and everyone needs to get ready for Part D come January 1, 2006," said Ana Oliveira, executive director of GMHC. "We are getting out across the state to talk about how the benefit works and what to do now to prepare for its arrival."

On January 1, HIV-positive people who have both Medicare and Medicaid will lose their Medicaid drug coverage and will be automatically transitioned to the less comprehensive Part D benefit. Similarly, for those enrolled in both AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and Medicare, Part D will become their primary drug coverage. Individuals who have Medicare only will have to decide whether to enroll in a Medicare plan is the right decision.

While all HIV antiretroviral medications will be covered by Part D drug plans, all other drugs used by HIV-positive people will not necessarily be on formulary, and certain cost-sharing requirements may apply to people who do not meet low-income thresholds.

"This is a complex benefit, made even more difficult to navigate if you have Medicare and happen to get your drugs through another program, like Medicaid or ADAP," says Joe Pressley, executive director of NYAC. "There is a lot of information that needs to be disseminated and many questions that need answers. We hope to bring people together to get the basics on Part D and talk through some of the complex issues that it raises for people with HIV/AIDS."

The "Medicare Road Show" is scheduled to be held in the following New York State areas: Bronx on September 12, Mid-Hudson Valley on September 13, Binghamton on September 15, Staten Island on October 3, Rochester on October 6, Manhattan on October 12, Brooklyn on October 13, Queens on October 18, Syracuse on October 19, and Buffalo on October 24. The presentations are free and open to the public. (

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