CMS says it is on target for Part D drug plan rollout

Share this content:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is "confident" that enrollment in the prescription drug benefit is on schedule and that beneficiaries will have access to the plan come January 1, 2006.

CMS has hired 345 new employees to handle the expansion, and is using a simple application form to enroll low-income beneficiaries, according to CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, who spoke during a Senate hearing earlier this week. His comments about new employees addressed concern among lawmakers that CMS lacked the necessary resources and staff to implement the program as planned.

The agency is also working to identify dual eligibles to ensure a smooth transition of drug coverage from Medicaid to Medicare, he said. There also has been some worry that that Medicare drug plan formularies might not include medications that Medicaid beneficiaries use.

CMS is implementing an electronic records system to help coordinate benefits for dual eligibles at pharmacies to ensure they get needed medications, McClellan said.