State To Notify Dual Eligibles About Prescription Drug Benefit During Transition of Coverage to Medicare
State officials are planning a mass mailing starting Wednesday through Dec. 21 to notify about one million California residents dually eligible for Medi-Cal and Medicare of a state policy that will pay for a 100-day supply of prescription drugs to help facilitate the transition to coverage under the Medicare drug benefit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the state policy, Medi-Cal will pay for a 100-day supply for most medications if the prescription is filled by Dec. 31.
Stan Rosenstein, state deputy director of medical services, said dual-eligible beneficiaries have not been notified directly about the benefit yet because the transition to Medicare Part D is "extremely complex, and we were trying to provide information in a way that would be meaningful to our beneficiaries." He added that the state was "trying to avoid information overload."
Rosenstein said that a news release about the benefit last month received little media coverage but that state officials have been trying to inform doctors and pharmacists about the 100-day benefit.
Some consumer advocates have questioned the timing of the notification, alleging that the state is trying to avoid paying for such prescriptions to be filled (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 12/12).
In related news, the Sacramento Bee on Saturday profiled the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program, a not-for-profit agency "charged with helping implement the new Part D drug plan." HICAP volunteers have spoken at "hundreds" of community events across California to inform beneficiaries about the new benefit and provide counseling at no cost to seniors selecting a drug plan, the Bee reports.
HICAP is part of the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs network and is funded in part by the Older Americans Act (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.