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Into The Medicare Weeds (In A Good Way)

Last month, when enrollment began for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, we noticed that much of the coverage on evening newscasts – including the "Evening News" -- seemed to focus on documenting seniors' frustration with the confusing logistics of the new plan rather than providing information about how best to navigate it. And, since most broadcasts noted that the best outlet for information about the program was online, but nearly 75% of seniors have never used the Internet, it seemed all the more important that the broadcasts provide information that would be useful to those who were enrolling.

CBS "Evening News" anchor Bob Schieffer told viewers then that the broadcast would be revisiting the subject, and last night, correspondent Wyatt Andrews did just that. He began the piece by noting that he couldn't find a single senior at a Virginia senior center who had signed up for the benefit, mainly because the enrollment process was so confusing. With that, the rest of the piece offered some simple steps to begin enrollment. While a two-minute piece obviously can't get quite as involved as the benefit program appears to be, it seemed like a useful starting off point for those viewers who had a vested interest in the subject. If I were 65, I would have been paying close attention. (And for that 25% of seniors who do use the Internet, Andrews wrote a more detailed guide to enrollment on the Web.)