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Kroger to Help Enroll Seniors in New Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here is partnering with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help enroll lower-income individuals who are eligible for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006.

Kroger's more than 1,900 pharmacies are working with CMS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to target lower-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities eligible for this program who will not be enrolled automatically by CMS and SSA. The retailer estimates that there are approximately 8 million such individuals.

"Our trusted pharmacists are committed to providing customers with the information they need to make informed decisions about this important new prescription drug benefit program," said Lincoln Lutz, Kroger corporate v.p. of pharmacy, in a statement.

The retailer has launched outreach programs designed both to enroll these individuals and to help educate them about the new Medicare drug program. The outreach includes assisting customers in the application process and training pharmacy staff to answer customers' questions about the Medicare Part D program.

In addition to its pharmacies, Kroger operates 2,524 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under two dozen local banners, including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's and Smith's Marketplace, Fry's and Fry's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC, and City Market. Kroger also operates (either directly or through subsidiaries, franchise agreements, or operating agreements) 793 convenience stores, 432 jewelry stores, 552 supermarket fuel centers, and 42 food processing plants.
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