November 14, 2007
November 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2008. During the “open season” period for 2008 drug plan enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to select prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2008. The open season ends December 31.
As the 2008 plan year approaches, NAMI is watching closely to ensure that beneficiaries with serious mental illness, especially low-income dual eligibles, are able to maintain continued access to drug coverage that meets their complex treatment needs. Of particular concern are the 2.1 million dual eligibles and low-income subsidy (LIS) Medicare beneficiaries that are being required to switch to different prescription drug plans (PDPs) on January 1.
For more information on the important issue of Medicare drug plan reassignment of dual eligibles and LIS beneficiaries for 2008, click here.
There are a number of important web-based tools to search available plan options, research whether or not a specific medication is on a plan’s formulary for 2008 – or is subject to an access restriction (placed on a tier requiring higher cost sharing, prior authorization, step therapy, quantity limit, etc.). Most can be searched by zip code to check on availability by geographic region. Here are a few links to these websites:Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
In addition, for 2008 CMS has added a new ratings system for Medicare prescription drug plans that allows beneficiaries to compare plans based on three specific measures:
These assessments and quality measures are available through the CMS "Plan Finder" tool though a quality icon next to each plan.