Archive for Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sebelius: State to cover seniors’ drug costs

January 19, 2006

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says the state will cover drug costs for Kansans having problems getting their medicines because of glitches in the new federal prescription drug program.

"It's appalling to hear that any Kansas senior or disabled person is being forced to go without the prescription drugs they depend on," Sebelius said Friday, Jan. 13.

After more than two weeks in operation, the new Medicare program still has thousands of Kansans unsure how to choose among 41 plans, which vary according to the drugs covered, premiums paid and deductibles required.

"It's been a pretty threatening process to sign up," Sandra Zender said last week in Lawrence at a forum meant to help people cope with the new regulations.

The complexity has created unexpected financial troubles for some already enrolled.

"There are just so many choices to make," Mary Rau, a rural Lawrence resident, said at the forum. "They could have made it much simpler."

Federal officials have acknowledged a variety of problems associated with the program's rollout.

Sebelius said if a pharmacist was encountering trouble enrolling someone who was considered "dual-eligible" for Medicare and Medicaid or if there were problems with their claims, the state would cover the cost of the prescription drugs directly.

Kansas will then seek appropriate compensation from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or the health plans that failed to properly enroll the individual.

"We're stepping up to make sure Kansans aren't left behind because of problems at the federal level," Sebelius said.

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