Study: Medicare plans tend to short-change dual eligibles

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Low-income nursing home residents tend to be enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans that offer less than optimal coverage, according to a study by the Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance.

Many dual-eligible nursing home residents are randomly assigned to so-called below benchmark plans. But less than half the plans in many states and regions covered 10 of the most commonly prescribed drugs to nursing home residents, investigators found. In New York, for example, only 3 of the 13 below benchmark plans offer such coverage. In Florida, only one of the five plans did so.

Residents can switch plans. But few do so because federal law prohibits assistance by nursing homes. The full report is available at http://www.ltcpa.org.