NU Online News Service, Feb. 25, 2005, 4:20 p.m. EST

Medicare managers want to see if private insurers can help the new Medicare prescription program offer richer benefits.[@@]

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid is asking for applications from private insurers that want to participate in a 5-year Medicare drug reinsurance pilot program that would determine whether private insurers could find a way to reduce the “doughnut,” or gap between when routine Medicare drug benefits end and catastrophic Medicare drug benefits begin.

The insurers must find ways to reduce the doughnut without waiving the minimum drug benefits, according to a notice that CMS officials published today in the Federal Register.

More details about participating in the pilot program are on the Web at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/pdf/05-3621.pdf