News Column

Hispanic Leadership Applauds Broad Inclusion of Medicines to Treat Mental Illness in New Medicare Benefit

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- "Medicare is truly being reshaped into a program that meets all of the needs (mind, body, and spirit) of those it serves," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance). "We applaud Medicare, under the leadership of Dr. Mark McClellan, for insisting that insurers include substantially all drugs that treat depression and other mental illness in the new Medicare drug benefit and inclusion of mental health in new physical exam benefits. Through these changes, Medicare is providing the extra help persons with Medicare need and deserve to live healthy and productive lives," continued Dr. Delgado.

Starting this year, Medicare beneficiaries became eligible for a range of new preventive benefits including a "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam in the first six months of Medicare Part B coverage. According to Dr. Delgado, "the physical exam benefit sets the gold standard for health care coverage by including mental health issues and making the mind-body connection for good health."

In addition, starting January 1, 2006 all Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible for a new prescription benefit. Also, those with modest incomes may qualify for extra help from Medicare that will pay for between 85 and 100 percent of their prescription costs. An estimated 1.3 million Hispanics will be eligible for this extra help from Medicare for prescription medicines.

"If you have Medicare, or are caring for someone with Medicare, call 1- 800-MEDICARE today to find out about new preventive care benefits available now and new prescription benefits starting January 1, 2006 para su salud," advised Dr. Delgado.

The Alliance also announced the availability of help with understanding new Medicare benefits through the Alliance's 1-866-SU-FAMILIA (1-866-783-2645) National Hispanic Family Health Helpline. Callers get free reliable and confidential health information in Spanish and English. Bilingual health information specialists can also refer callers to a local health care provider in their community.

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation's oldest and largest network of Hispanic health professionals. The nation's action forum for Hispanic health, Alliance members deliver services to over 12 million persons every year making a daily difference in the lives of Hispanic communities. For more information, visit the Alliance's website ( or call 1-866-SU-FAMILIA (1-866-783-2645). National Alliance for Hispanic Health

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Source: PR Newswire

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