Medicare Drug Program Faces Criticism
Health care advocates are criticizing Medicare for delayed responses to complaints from beneficiaries enrolled in prescription drug plans, the Los Angeles Times reports. The criticism comes after complaints by beneficiaries who did not receive responses for several weeks.
Medicare's customer service system is designed to receive a complaint from a member and then forward it to the member's private drug plan. The private insurer is responsible for resolving the problem and informing Medicare of the outcome, according to the Times.
David Lipschutz, staff attorney for California Health Advocates, said Medicare's "approach to corrective action is flawed because of a lack of government oversight and enforcement." He said the agency "has turned over too much of its oversight to the private plans themselves."
David Lewis, a Medicare official, said that each payer should resolve complaints because "[t]hey are the ones delivering the service" (Lin/Kang, Los Angeles Times, 1/19).