The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved new 2006 Medicare prescription drug program and Medicare managed care program offerings.[@@]
The insurers with products that have been approved can begin selling them starting Oct. 1.
Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS’ parent agency, says at least 11 organizations will be offering drug plans in each region and that at least one drug plan will cost less than $20 per month in every state but Alaska.
Moreover, there is “no area needing the ‘fallback’ plan that would have been required without at least 2 organizations competing,” CMS officials say in a statement about the new drug plan menu.
Some critics of the program had questioned whether a variety of program requirements would scare private insurers away from the program.
The 9 national prescription drug plan organizations in the market include MemberHealth Inc., Solon, Ohio, and WellCare Health Plans Inc., Tampa, Fla., along with units of Aetna Inc., Hartford; Caremark Rx Inc., Nashville, Tenn.; CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia; Medco Health Solutions Inc., Franklin Lakes, N.J.; PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Cypress, Calif.; UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.; and WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis.