CMS promises to help states with Part D reimbursements

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said the agency will help states collect reimbursements from Medicare Part D prescription drug plans that now may be failing to provide drug coverage to some low-income recipients.

CMS Administrator Mark McClellan clarified that, although CMS is offering to "facilitate" states' efforts to be reimbursed by drug plans, the federal government will not be reimbursing the states directly for the costs of the emergency drug coverage.

McClellan also said that problems providers and beneficiaries are experiencing while transitioning to the new program are likely to continue until every dual-eligible individual is moved from Medicaid's drug coverage into the new Medicare Part D program and uses the prescription service at least once.

While CMS automatically enrolled beneficiaries who were dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare into a plan under the Part D program, the agency has acknowledged some dual eligibles have had problems obtaining needed medications. At least a dozen states have already approved emergency measures to help pay for and supply prescription drugs to beneficiaries.

CMS will aggregate each state's claims for each drug plan and help states recover the costs, officials said.