Governor Extends Emergency Drug Coverage
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday signed a bill (AB 813) that will extend emergency drug coverage for some state residents who have problems receiving medications under the Medicare drug benefit. The emergency coverage takes effect on May 17 and will be phased out by Jan. 31, 2007.
Under the law by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), California will be the payer of last resort for state residents dually eligible for Medi-Cal and Medicare who experience difficulty obtaining medications through the Medicare drug benefit. Pharmacists who seek reimbursement under the law must have prior approval from Medi-Cal.
The state will provide up to $120 million in emergency drug coverage, the amount the Legislature approved in January when it created the previous emergency drug coverage program. California had spent $68 million on such coverage as of May 15 (Office of the Governor release, 5/16).