Medicare Change Should Mean Lower Drug Costs

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A change that begins next year in Medicare's Part D regulations should translate to lower costs for Medicare participants at the pharmacy counter, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a news release.

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The change, effective Jan. 1, 2010, revises the way pharmacies report negotiated drug prices under Part D. It distinguishes between administrative costs and the actual price of a drug paid to a pharmacy by a pharmacy benefit manager. This change should create a uniform standard of drug costs for all Part D sponsors and result in lower negotiated prices for drugs, the agency said.

The rule also allows the agency to impose a penalty of up to $25,000 for each Medicare enrollee who has been adversely affected when the agency determines that a Part D contract has been violated.

The rule change will be of particular help to beneficiaries with high drug costs, since it should slow the beneficiaries' movement toward Medicare's drug coverage limits, the agency said.

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