Part D starts more smoothly in second year

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The start of the Medicare prescription drug program in its second year has shaped up to be better than the kick-off last year, federal health officials and representatives of seniors and pharmacists said.

So far, this year there are fewer complaints from beneficiaries compared to last year. "It's very quiet, but we're always on the lookout," said Jeff Nelligan, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Last year, at this time, CMS was bombarded with complaints from beneficiaries who were not listed in insurers' databases and from pharmacists who sought to verify coverage. Problems soon emerged related to beneficiaries' access to medications.