Three States Take Action Related to Medicare Drug Benefit
Alan Levine, secretary of the state Agency for Health Care Administration, has asked CMS for an extension until March 8 of the Feb. 15 deadline for the federal government to reimburse states that have covered the cost of medications for dual eligibles -- beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid -- who experience problems with access under the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Miami Herald reports (Miami Herald, 2/17).
The state will extend until March 15 an emergency program that covers the cost of medications for dual eligibles who experience problems with access under the Medicare prescription drug benefit, state officials said on Wednesday, the Boston Globe reports. The program was scheduled to expire on Wednesday.
Since Jan. 9, Massachusetts has paid $16.9 million to provide medications for dual eligibles and $2.3 million to provide treatments for beneficiaries of Prescription Advantage, a state prescription drug assistance program. State officials said that the number of daily payments under the emergency program has decreased from about 22,000 to about 4,500 (Krasner, Boston Globe, 2/16).
State Medicare Administrator Ann Clemency Kohler in a letter to CMS on Wednesday requested an extension of the Feb. 15 deadline for the federal government to reimburse states that have covered the cost of medications for dual eligibles who experience problems with access under the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
New Jersey officials have found "no evidence that sufficient improvements have been made" to the Medicare prescription drug benefit to ensure "the most vulnerable clients ... will be adequately served should we turn their drug coverage over to Medicare and its contractors," according to the letter. According to the letter, 4,008 dual eligibles in the state were improperly enrolled in out-of-state prescription drug plans, and 4,744 were not enrolled in plans.
In addition, the letter states that about 190,000 New Jersey residents who had previously received prescription drug coverage under the state Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program were not enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans or did not receive effective start dates for their plans.
Since Jan. 1, New Jersey has paid $42 million to provide medications for dual eligibles and more than $70 million to provide medications for PAAD beneficiaries.
CMS spokesperson Jeffrey Hall said that the agency will continue reimbursements to the state until a decision is reached on the requested extension (Campbell, Newark Star-Ledger, 2/16).