Medicare Drug Benefit
With the introduction of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, younger beneficiaries with disabilities who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid experienced difficulties switching from Medicaid drug coverage to Medicare prescription drug plans, according to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care.
The researchers found that:
- More than 50% were unaware they could switch plans monthly, a process that could improve access to medications;
- 20% of participants experienced problems obtaining medications, including some medications in Part D-protected classes;
- 13% were required to change medications; and
- 8% stopped taking at least one medication altogether.
The study called for policymakers to continue to watch for trends of medication access problems in Medicare drug plans, especially among dual-eligible beneficiaries with disabilities and other high-risk populations. If problems persist, CMS must be ready to alter policy or better enforce its guidelines to ease the difficulties, the authors concluded (Hall et al., American Journal of Managed Care, January 2007).
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