Dual-Eligible Patients, Cancer Medication Coverage Attract Headlines
The Associated Press reports that seniors are facing Medicare cost barriers which sometimes lead them to not fill cancer drug prescriptions. Also, CQ HealthBeat reports that a special team within the Department of Health and Human Services is working on finding ways to save money and improve care for patients on both Medicare and Medicaid.
The Associated Press: Seniors Face Medicare Cost Barrier For Cancer Meds
Facing a life-and-death struggle with kidney cancer, Rita Moore took her prescription for a new kind of chemotherapy pill to her local drugstore. She was stunned when the pharmacist told her the cost for a month's supply would be $2,400, well beyond her income. Medicare drug plans that cover seniors like Moore are allowed to charge steep copayments for the latest cancer medications, whose cost can run to tens of thousands of dollars a year. About 1 in 6 beneficiaries aren't filling their prescriptions, according to recent research that has put numbers on a worrisome trend (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/12).
CQ HealthBeat: Health Care Team Tackles Cost and Quality of Care for Dual-Eligible Patients
Deep within the bureaucracy of the Health and Human Services Department, a 20-person team is trying to find a way to save money and improve care for the 9.2 million people on both Medicare and Medicaid. The task of the Federal Coordinated Health Care Office, created by the 2010 health overhaul law, is one of the most vexing and costly challenges facing the two entitlement programs. The office's work comes at a time Congress and state officials are increasingly concerned about the rising cost of Medicare's health care coverage for 45 million elderly and disabled Americans and Medicaid's 55 million poor patients - concern that is magnified for those in both programs (Adams, 6/10).