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Pharmacists Ask Medicare to Help Seniors Complaining About Inadequate Pharmacy Access in Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Date:1/19/2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medicare officials should swiftly authorize a Special Enrollment Period to allow patients to enroll in a new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if the patient believes that material misrepresentations led them to sign up for a "preferred network" plan with inadequate pharmacy access, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said today.

Since the start of the 2012 plan year on January 1, local pharmacists have heard repeated complaints from patients saying they were misled by Medicare drug plan advertising with regard to certain preferred networks. Patients claim that at the time of enrollment they relied on material misrepresentations on Medicare Plan Finder (the online portal maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS), online plan advertising, and/or were misled by enrollment agents regarding the availability of low, advertised medication co-pays. Now these seniors find that, when they go to their pharmacy of choice in the plan's network, the advertised co-pays are not available because that provider is not one of the plan's "preferred" pharmacies.

"NCPA previously warned that these overly restrictive Medicare drug plans were being deceptively marketed to patients and lack adequate pharmacy access for Americans in rural or underserved areas. While not surprising, it is unfortunate that our concerns were validated within the first few days of the 2012 plan year," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Now, seniors are going to the community pharmacy that they have relied on for years, sometimes decades, only to be told that they must travel 20 miles or more to obtain the lowest-advertised co-payments for their medication.

"While CMS is working with us
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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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