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

to address individual patient concerns, we believe as a matter of fairness that all enrollees in these restrictive network plans should have the chance to reevaluate whether this is the right plan for them," Hoey added. "Every day about 10,000 Americans turn 65 and are eligible to enroll in a Medicare drug plan. Medicare should allow seniors who feel that they've been duped the same choice as those just entering the program. In addition, CMS should implement preventative steps to avoid a repeat of this situation next year."

NCPA is working with Medicare officials in hopes of addressing these concerns. The association recently sent a letter to CMS asking the agency to agree to a Special Enrollment Period for these patients this year and to take action to prevent similar, misleading marketing practices in future years. Along with its letter, NCPA provided the agency with a compilation of problems patients and pharmacists are experiencing.

The 2010 announcement of the Humana Walmart plan introduced restricted network pharmacy plans to Medicare Part D. In 2011, similar plans were introduced, such as First Health Part D Value Plus, Aetna CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid EnvisionRx Plus, bringing the total number of such plans to six.

NCPA has expressed to Medicare two primary concerns with the restricted plans. First, they are marketed without making clear that the lowest advertised prices are only available at a relatively small number of pharmacies. Second, these plans may lack adequate pharmacy access for patients in underserved or rural communities. Independent community pharmacies rarely, if ever, are afforded an opportunity to meet the plans' pricing and contract terms.

NCPA is urging community pharmacists to encourage and assist their patients in filling out a

SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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