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Seniors Rush to Sign Up for Medicare’s Drug Benefit Before Deadline

The Bush administration made one last push Monday to persuade seniors to sign up for Medicare's drug benefit before a financial penalty kicks in. Two experts discuss the deadline and what it means for seniors and others struggling to pay for drugs.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The Bush administration made one last push today to persuade seniors to sign up for Medicare's drug benefit before a financial penalty kicks in. This afternoon, the first lady and top health officials paid a visit to Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where workers counseled seniors about the program, called Medicare Part D.

    Afterward, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt explained how to enroll before the midnight deadline.

  • MIKE LEAVITT, HHS Secretary:

    There are just three easy steps: Get your drugs together; then, find your Medicare card; and then call 1-800-MEDICARE. And there will be people there who will help you choose a plan. In less than 30 minutes, you can choose a plan.

    Now, today is the final day. Wait times might be a little longer than they have been in previous days. But if you'll stay on the phone, we're going to make sure that we get everyone who attempts to sign up enrolled. More than 37 million people now have the benefit of prescription drug coverage in our country.

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