One-in-Five Medicare Beneficiaries Is Unaware That Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Ends on December 7, 2011: PlanPrescriber Survey Finds

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Nov 28, 2011) - With less than two weeks left in Medicare's 2012 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), one-in-five (19%) Medicare Part D and Part C enrollees over the age of 65 still does not know that the enrollment period is scheduled to end three weeks earlier this year, on December 7, 2011, according to a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by PlanPrescriber (, a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH).
Survey Data:
Responses Total Income Less than $35K: Income $35K - $50K : Income $50K to $75K: Income $75K to $100K: Income $100+:
Yes - I know Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period now ends three weeks earlier, on December 7th. 81% 86% 72% 85% 76% 81%
The new national randomized phone survey conducted between October 28 and October 31, 2011 shows that the number of seniors unaware of when the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) ends has decreased significantly over the past few months. A similar survey run in August found that more than two-out-of-three (65%) Medicare Part D and Part C enrollees were unaware of the dates.
Survey Data:
August, 2011I know Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period changed in 2011 Yes: 35%No: 65%
October, 2011I know Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period now ends three weeks earlier, on December 7th Yes: 81%No: 19%
The AEP gives people the chance to review their Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage health plans for 2012, as well as the option to change their existing plan if they desire. In previous years the AEP began on November 15 and ended on December 31. But, for 2012, the AEP began a month earlier on October 15 and ends on December 7, 2011.
"I'm pleased to see that awareness of the new dates has increased so significantly, but if one-out-of-five seniors are still in the dark when it comes to the date change, there is still a lot of work to be done," said Ross Blair, CEO of PlanPrescriber. "Our research has shown that seniors who fail to review their coverage during the AEP may often wind up spending far more than they need to on prescription drugs, and could lose coverage of a particular drug they're on."
In September, PlanPrescriber published an analysis of 25,000 sessions on its web site. The report found that after using the company's online drug plan comparison tool, over 90 percent of visitors to the site could have saved an average of $5001 annually on prescriptions by updating their drug coverage. A second report published by PlanPrescriber in October 2012 found that among approximately 24,000 user sessions on, one-in-three (34%2) users were taking at least one prescription drug not covered by their existing drug plan.
Blair continued: "Every year in late December our web traffic increases along with the calls to our customer care center as people try to update their coverage at the last minute, before the AEP ended on December 31. But, in 2011 those people who try to make last minute changes after December 7, will be too late."
Additional Resources
You may be able to get Extra Help to pay for your prescription drug premiums and costs. For more information on Extra Help, you can contact at 800-404-6968 - TTY User: 711 to be connected with a partner's licensed representative who can discuss Extra Help eligibility rules or contact Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/7 days a week; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or Your Medicaid Office (only required for pieces referencing Part D benefits or cost-sharing). In general, beneficiaries must use network pharmacies to access their prescription drug benefit, except in non-routine circumstances, and quantity limitations and restrictions may apply.
1 Data comes from's 2010 Choice & Impact Study:
2 34 Percent on Medicare Part D Were Taking at Least One Drug Not Covered by Their Plan During 2011 AEP: PlanPrescriber Study Finds.
Survey Methodology
Data presented here is a summary of findings from two telephone surveys conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among random national samples of 711 adults age 65 and over, living in private households in the continental United States. Among those surveyed, 475 respondents age 65 and over reported having Medicare prescription drug coverage. The data provided here is a subset of the complete survey data. A full copy of the findings are available upon request. Interviewing for this survey was completed by Opinion Research Corporation during the period of July 28 and August 29, 2011.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.
PlanPrescriber (, a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., is a leading provider of comparison tools and educational materials for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement insurance products. Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of PlanPrescriber's no cost online advisor tools by logging on to PlanPrescriber is a tool designed to help Medicare recipients find a Medicare plan that covers their specific medical and prescription drug needs at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost.
About eHealth
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website,, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it the ideal model of a successful, high-functioning health insurance exchange. Through eHealth's technology solutions (, is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealth provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides online tools to help seniors navigate Medicare health insurance options through ( and eHealthMedicare (
For more news and information about health insurance, health reform and Medicare, visit eHealth's consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.