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New Medicare Prescription Plan

Armen Hareyan's picture

Prescription Drug Plan

With onicology drugs accounting for about 69% of total Part B spending on prescription drugs and related services, the new plan will even be more important for Senior cancer patients.

Beginning January 1, 2006, Senior Americans with cancer may not even have to go to hospitals, let alone the infamous infusion-rooms of office-based oncology practices. That's because the new Medicare Modernizaton Act will offer them benefits they did not have before, such as coverage for oral chemotherapy drugs. If prescribed an oral-dose chemotherapy drug, you will be given a prescription that you will take to your local pharmacy to have filled, just like you normally do with all the other prescription medications that you may be taking. Because it is a pill, patients can take it at home with only occasional visits to the doctor or clinic.

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Oral chemotherapy drugs are treating cancer effectively and enhance the quality of treatment for cancer. Compared to infusional therapy, oral-dose cancer drugs can make treatment more convenient for patients by allowing flexibility, without disrupting work or other activities. Taking your medication at home allows you the freedom to carry on with your daily life. This results in less time spent in hospitals and private oncology practices because of the absence of intravenous administration and its related side-effects.

These targeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatments. Treatments may be individualized based on testing the individual properties of each patient's cancer. These new differences in therapy hold the promise of being more selective, harming fewer normal cells, reducing side-effects, and provide a savings in health care costs.

If you have a private health plan which has a good prescription plan, how goes medicare, goes most private pay plans. If you want to apply for the new Medicare prescription benefits, you may do that also. Oral chemotherapy will be handled the same as "infusion" chemotherapy by Medicare. However, if you can and want to utilize a lot of the generic or older drug agents, the cost would be significantly less.

However, by continuing the additional $130 per infusional-chemotherapy per recipient treatment into 2006, it will exacerbate existing economic and clinical problems instead of resolving them by increasing the temptations for physicians to overuse injectable drugs and promise to aggravate the economic problems Congress attempted to fix with the new law.