States to Be Reimbursed for Drugs

Associated Press
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Federal officials said yesterday that they will reimburse states that bought medicine for senior citizens and disabled people who could not get help through the new Medicare drug benefit.

Under the program, which began Jan. 1, beneficiaries enroll in private plans selected by the government to provide prescription drug coverage.

But the program got off to such a difficult start that more than 20 states opted to provide emergency coverage for low-income residents who ran into difficulty. Some people did not show up in pharmacists' computers as being enrolled in a plan, and others were charged far more than they were supposed to pay.

Previously, officials said reimbursement to the states would come from the private plans themselves. But in cases in which states incurred expense above and beyond what the plans are required to pay, the federal government will step in, officials said.

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