Bush to prescription drug plans: Expand emergency supply to seniors

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The Bush administration has told prescription drug plans to give seniors an additional 60-day supply of medicine for emergencies. They previously offered a 30-day supply.

Beneficiaries will now have more time to find alternative treatments when their plan won't cover a prescription, or at least more time to file an appeal. Glitches in the start-up of the program have left many beneficiaries without their prescriptions. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Michael Leavitt has acknowledged problems in the program's first month.

California, Texas, Kentucky, New Jersey and Missouri plan to sue the government to compensate states for tiding over drug costs. They will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the government from billing them.

While Congress has assured states the program would lower their costs of providing coverage by 10%, California officials said they expect to pay $161 million more by mid-next year than the state would have under the old system.