Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Medicare Drug Pricing Surprises Some with High Costs

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that a system known as "referenced-based pricing" is catching some Medicare recipients off guard--and drawing complaints from senior citizens, the AARP, and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. Under this pricing system, patients requesting certain brand-name drugs in lieu of the generic version are charged a much higher price--usually the cost difference between the generic and brand-name drugs, as well as a copayment. You can find the WSJ article here, including a table of prices for some drugs under reference-based plans.

WSJ reports that in 2009, 30 insurers will use reference-based pricing in 63 drug plans representing about 10% of all Medicare Part D prescription-drug plans. Medicare recipients have until December 31 to enroll in a 2009 prescription drug plan. You can learn more about Medicare prescription drug plans via the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder. If you want to learn about your rights under Medicare or you wish to appeal a Medicare decision, go to this page.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services manage the Medicare program. To find links to other government and nongovernmental resources, see our guide to Health and Medical Information.

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