Local pharmacists react to proposed changes to Medicare D Plan - KOAM TV 7

Local pharmacists react to proposed changes to Medicare D Plan


Changes could potentially come after proposed rule by centers for medicare and medicaid services aimed at controlling costs in the medicare part d prescription drug program. Republican leaders are calling for president Obama to overturn the changes, arguing that it would jeopardize seniors' plans and raise their premiums.

Ray Smith of Galena, Kansas buys his medicine at 4 state pharmacy. He's covered by medicare part D, which allows senior citizens to choose the pharmacy they want to fill prescriptions.

But the drug industry and insurance groups are lobbying hard to stop that from happening.  Those groups want certain drugs only available at certain pharmacies.. Because more choice would mean higher premiums for seniors.

"Patients that are being pushed into preferred networks actually could be charged more over the long term. So when they analyze the data and saw what the insurance companies were collecting from the federal government, and what the patients were paying out of pocket, they actually paid more." says Pharmacist and owner, Brian Caswell.

"Why should I have to go across state lines and support other towns and states when I can do it right here in the state of Kansas? Right here In my hometown." says Smith.

Smith also says independent pharmacies can save patients money in the long run.

"I'm a caregiver. We've purchased a lot of medications, a month per year, and it doesn't sound like 2 dollars is much on prescriptions for generic, but you figure at the end of the year, you're in the donut hole anyway, and you got to pay full price...that hurts." he says.

Medicare Part D currently has a 90% approval rating across the country. Caswell believes preventing choice could make for some unhappy customers.

"They want to go to the pharmacy they've always gone to. They don't want to be penalized, and let them have a choice of where they want to go to." Caswell says.

Medicare says the changed rule would save $1.3 billion over five years. The public can address their concerns over the Medicare Part D rule to local leaders up until march 7.



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