PART D MISTAKES WILL NOT STOP BENEFITS; CMS STOPS MAILINGS

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Seniors who received millions of dollars in government refunds for theirMedicare Part D prescription drug premiums will not lose their drug coverage asa result of the snafu. In addition, thanks to the efforts of a senior advocacygroup, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will no longer beissuing letters requesting that the money be refunded. The Centers' Web sitehas also been updated, revoking the request.

"It's very important for people to know their coverage is continuing," formerCMS Administrator Mark McClellan,MD, PhD, said in a message to quash rumorsthat prescription benefits will be suspended for those who mistakenly receivedthe refunds. "There's no disruption at all."

Because of a government computer glitch, nearly 230,000 Medicare recipientswere sent a total of almost $50 million in refunds for monthly premiumsthey paid this year for prescription drug coverage. The individual overpaymentsaveraged about $215.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) Inc, which represents the GrayPanthers and the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens, filed a lawsuit againstCMS, stating that federal law allows for waiver of recovery when the beneficiaryis not at fault in the overpayment. CMS has responded by deleting therequest from its Web site and ceasing all mailings seeking refunds of themissent monies. The lawyers for CMA are now trying to get CMS to returnany already-repaid refunds and to inform all recipients of their rights underfederal law to seek waiver of recovery.

For a related story on the Medicare money mix-up, visit ePharmacy Times athttp://www.pharmacytimes.com/articleNewsletter.cfm?ID=3819.