The new federal prescription drug benefit for seniors doesn't appear to be catching on in Minnesota. According to a ranking by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Minnesota ranks 45th among the states in participation in the new drug benefit program, known as Medicare Part D.
About 711,000 Minnesotans are eligible for the benefit because they are disabled or over age 65. But only 45 percent of those eligible have enrolled so far. The deadline for enrolling in the first year of the program is May 15.
According to the study, if seniors continue to shy away from the program, those who ARE enrolled will face higher premiums.
Peter Wyckoff, executive director of the Minnesota Senior Federation, says disparities in Medicare spending among the states are to blame for Minnesota's low enrollment. Wyckoff talked with Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Crann.