New Online Tools! 2009 Part D Plan Charts, Fact Sheets, Medicare Marketing Regulations Powerpoint and More

New Online Tools! 2009 Part D Plan Charts, Fact Sheets, Medicare Marketing Regulations Powerpoint and More

With Medicare starting its fall enrollment period, California Health Advocates (CHA) has new online resources to help beneficiaries and advocates working with beneficiaries make important choices on their health care for 2009. In addition to our new English and Spanish Medicare podcasts, we also have the following tools below.

2009 California Medicare Prescription Plan Charts

CHA has 2 charts:

  1. California Medicare Part D Benchmark Plans (PDF) Note there are 6 benchmark plans in 2009 versus 9 in 2008; and
  2. California Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) (PDF) —provides a comparison chart of California’s 51 stand-alone Part D plans (not including a list of California’s Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans)

Summary of California’s 2009 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs)

This handout reviews the cost and types of Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans being offered throughout California. Summarized from CMS data. Download PDF

Some highlights for California’s 2009 stand-alone PDPs include:

  • 51 PDPs (5 fewer than 2008)
  • No PDP plan in CA will have brand name gap coverage (same as 2008 – Sierra was the only plan in 2007)
  • Premiums range from $18.30 (First Health Part D-Secure) to $129.30 (Aetna Medicare Rx Premier)
  • California’s average cost of a PDP in 2009 is $46.86
  • 24% of California plans will have some kind of gap coverage in 2009

Some highlights for California’s 2009 Medicare Advantage plans include:

  • California only has 1 Regional Preferred Provider Organization (RPPO) now — BC Freedom Blue I (available statewide). Last year California had 2.
  • Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) are available in all but 6 counties (Glenn, Inyo, Lassen, Los Angeles, Marin, Orange)
    • 2009 MSA plans are offered by a different plan sponsor — Advantra Savings 1, 2 and 3
  • 1 local Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) (again in San Diego – Health Net)
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) – available in 37 counties
    • Of these counties, 9-10 only have 1 HMO
    • Unavailable in 21 counties
  • Special Needs Plans (SNPs) – available in 30 counties
    • Unavailable in 28 counties
  • Private Fee for Service (PFFS) – multiple plans in every county

New Medicare Marketing Regulations PowerPoint

12-slide PowerPoint presentation on the new Medicare marketing regulations for Medicare Advantage and PDPs in effect from the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008 (Download PowerPoint). These slides are excellent to use for both beneficiary and provider/advocate trainings.

New Medicare Fact Sheets

We have 2 new fact sheets available on Medicare and:

  1. Veterans Affairs benefits, and
  2. TRICARE for Life.

Also, several fact sheets are already updated with 2009 information. See our fact sheet section at

RSS Feed – Receive CHA’s updates as soon as they are posted

Sign up for CHA’s RSS and have all our updated news articles, resources, issue briefs, fact sheets, and more that we post automatically downloaded to you.

RSS (Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication) is a term used to describe a new technology that allows for syndication of website content. A user subscribes to a content feed, and updates are downloaded to them automatically; rather than requiring the user to request the items manually. RSS files are often posted as “feeds”, or files that include a number of items in a list format. As new items are added to the top of the list, older items at the bottom of the list drop off. Sign up for our RSS feed here.

If you haven’t used RSS feeds, here are a couple helpful links to articles on RSS feeds, how to use them, and why they’re useful:

CHA’s Blog

Another quick way of receiving CHA updates on Medicare news and other health insurance related issues, and on CHA’s tools and resources is to view our new blog. Blogs are popular, more informal ways of sharing information with our online communities and Medicare advocacy partners. View our blog at and send feedback or comments to Karen Fletcher at

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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