Published Online: Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making contingency plans for beneficiaries in the event of a hurricane. The agency is trying to ensure that all beneficiaries will be able to obtain early refills on their Part D medications that may be lost or misplaced during a government-declared emergency.

CMS officials anticipate that Part D plans would guarantee immediate refills of Part D drugs to beneficiaries located in an emergency area, defined as the area in which there has been a Stafford Act or National Emergencies Act declaration and a public health emergency declaration. Furthermore, CMS officials expect all "refill too soon" language to be removed, beginning with any voluntary or mandatory state or federal evacuations and remaining in effect throughout the extent of the emergency declaration. Because of a limited number of operational pharmacies, transportation and travel restrictions, and the interruption of mail, the agency foresees plans allowing affected beneficiaries to receive the maximum plan extended-day supplies if requested and available at the time of refill.

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