Drug Benefit Enrollment Smoother in Second Year
The commencement of the Medicare prescription drug benefit's second year has gone more smoothly than the first year as hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries are entering the program or changing plans, federal health officials and representatives of seniors and pharmacists said Wednesday, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the first week of 2006, CMS received a "barrage" of complaints from beneficiaries who were not listed in insurers' databases and from pharmacists who sought to verify coverage, according to the AP/Chronicle.
CMS spokesperson Jeff Nelligan said of this year, "It's very quiet, but we're always on the lookout. There's nothing that has risen to the level of crisis."
Carol Cooke, spokesperson for the National Community Pharmacists Association, said, "It's not perfect, but it seems a lot better than last year."
Deane Beebe of the Medicare Rights Center said, "It's nothing overwhelming like last year. But, yes, there is a smattering of problems we're hearing about. We've also spoken with pharmacists who say it's too soon to tell" (Freking, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).