Physician Medicare Patient Prescription Plan

From the Garlo Ward P.C. healthcare blog:

Medicare’s new prescription drug program goes into effect in less that two weeks, and pharmacies and nursing homes are making preparations. About 41 million eligible Medicare beneficiaries will get to select plans that will cover part of the prescription drug costs.

As I’ve written before, long term care providers are concerned that elderly patients, many of whom have cognitive problems, may not have the ability to make informed choices about coverage.

“None of the residents in my facility can make that choice,” Tracie Murray, administrator of Cedar Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sunnyvale, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Long term providers face a dilemma. Many of their elderly patients won’t be able to select plans on their own, yet Medicare prohibits staff from assisting, citing potential conflicts of interest.

If patients are “dual eligibles,” the decision has been made for them. Two-thirds of nursing home residents will be eligible for coverage under Medicare and Medicaid. According to Medical News Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has randomly assigned all dual eligibles to a Medicare drug plan.

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