DHS Weighing Extension of Drug Benefit Emergency Program
The emergency backup program for beneficiaries of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is set to expire Wednesday, but patient advocates say the program is still necessary and should be renewed, the Sacramento Bee reports. The program has helped 185,000 Medicare recipients, filling more than 639,000 prescriptions at a cost of $62 million.
The state last year enacted the safety net program to give beneficiaries access to their prescriptions while coverage problems such as computer glitches were being resolved.
Advocates, legislative staff members and Department of Health Services officials are scheduled to meet later this week to discuss whether the state should continue the program.
DHS spokesperson Lea Brooks said the state would continue to monitor the situation.
Jeff Flick, regional administrator for Medicare, said emergency backup programs are unnecessary because usually when an enrollee urgently needs a prescription, the problem is resolved quickly (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/28).