Proposed Medicare Drug Change Leaves Some Worried

WASHINGTON (January 10, 2014) In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs.

The three classes of drugs, including widely used antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, have had special protected status since the launch of the Medicare prescription benefit in 2006.

That has meant that the private insurance plans that deliver prescription benefits to seniors and disabled beneficiaries must cover "all or substantially all" medications in the class.

But now the administration wants to remove that protected status, saying it's no longer needed to guarantee access.

The administration says removing the protection would result in millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers and beneficiaries.

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