(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Monday is the deadline for senior citizens to enroll in the new Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Seniors who fail to sign up for one of the available plans by the end of the day will not be able to enroll again until Nov. 15 and could incur expensive penalties. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), who voted against the plan, today urged Congress to waive late enrollment fees and work to fix the flaws for Medicare eligible seniors – the majority of whom are women.

“This Mother’s Day, Congress should be making it easier for women to make health care decisions that will work for them. With longer life spans and lower incomes, access to affordable prescription drugs is especially critical for American women. That’s why Congress should act immediately to waive the sign-up penalties and give our seniors the time they need to pick a plan that’s right for them.”

Tomorrow’s deadline and access to prescription drug coverage is of particular concern to American women.

Women make up 58 percent of our nation’s Medicare eligible seniors, while also making up the majority of beneficiaries with incomes below the poverty line. In fact, seven in ten Medicare beneficiaries with incomes below the poverty line are women. Women are also more prone to chronic illness and spend more on specialized health care needs than do men.

“Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in Congress had failed to act to extend tomorrow’s deadline and give all of America’s seniors the time they need to make an informed health care choice. Instead, right now, seniors across the country are making a decision out of fear,” Murray said. “Congress should act now to waive the penalties, fix the coverage gaps and make prescription drug coverage a seamless part of Medicare. Our seniors deserve better than a confusing process and Congress should take the time to get it right.”


Rally to Waive Penalties and Give Seniors Time to Make an Informed Choice

Senator Murray will be holding a rally at:

10:00 am on Monday, May 15th,
The Ballard Senior Center,
5429 32nd Avenue Northwest, Seattle

Murray will talk about what the Medicare Part D signup deadline means for seniors in Washington state and calling on Congress to waive the fees and penalties for those who have not yet made a decision.