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Feds Tout Increase In Drug Coverage Rate

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More than 90% of Medicare beneficiaries now have prescription drug coverage, up from 73% in 2002.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have published those enrollment figures in a Medicare Part D program performance report drawn from information gathered a few days before the May 15 program enrollment deadline.

A last-minute enrollment surge could push the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who have drug coverage significantly higher, according to CMS officials.

Consumer advocates, physicians and pharmacies have complained about administrative problems at the new Part D program.

But Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, says the expansion of Medicare prescription drug coverage demonstrates the value of the Part D program.

“For millions of seniors who have faced difficult choices about how much medicine, if any, they could afford, the new program is delivering immediate results,” Ignagni says in a statement “While the value of the benefit is exceeding enrollee expectations, the cost of the benefit remains far below expectations. Competition and health plan tools and techniques are helping beneficiaries pay one-third less on their premiums and will help save taxpayers more than $200 billion over the next 10 years.”


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