CMS disciplines drug plans hundreds of times, agency says

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The government has slapped the wrist of prescription drug plans more than 1,000 times this year for service-related problems, according to details released this week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Specifically, the agency sent warning letters 651 times. It also ordered health insurers to submit plans for service improvements 318 times and imposed more serious sanctions 75 times. In one case it sought to remove one health insurer – America's Health Choice of Florida – from the prescription drug benefit for continued marketing violations.

But some critics do not think the government has been tough enough. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said CMS is reluctant to discipline plans too strongly because the government wants to make sure private plans stay in the program.