Medicare: Sponsors' Management of the Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Benefit

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program, which became effective January 1, 2006. To assist Medicare beneficiaries with their prescription drug costs until the new benefit became available, the MMA also required the establishment of a temporary program, the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program, which began in June 2004. The drug card program offers Medicare beneficiaries access to discounts off the retail price of prescription drugs at the point of sale. ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 13, 2006.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program, which became effective January 1, 2006. To assist Medicare beneficiaries with their prescription drug costs until the new benefit became available, the MMA also required the establishment of a temporary program, the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program, which began in June 2004. The drug card program offers Medicare beneficiaries access to discounts off the retail price of prescription drugs at the point of sale. All Medicare beneficiaries, except those receiving Medicaid drug coverage, were eligible to enroll in the drug card program. Certain low-income beneficiaries without other drug coverage qualified for an additional benefit, a transitional assistance (TA) subsidy that can be applied toward the cost of drugs covered under the drug card program. Drug cards were offered and are managed by private organizations, known as drug card sponsors. General drug cards were available to all eligible beneficiaries living in a card's service area; there are both national and regional general cards. Exclusive and special endorsement drug cards were available to specific beneficiary groups. Some drug card sponsors offered more than one drug card. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)--the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that manages the Medicare and Medicaid programs--administers and oversees the drug card program. In response to a Congressional request, we examined drug card sponsors' management of the drug card and TA benefit and any challenges that sponsors experienced in meeting program requirements. Specifically, we (1) identified how drug card sponsors provided beneficiaries access to discounted drugs and the discounts obtained through these arrangements; (2) reviewed how drug card sponsors managed the TA benefit, including the enrollment of low-income beneficiaries and management of the TA subsidies; and (3) identified any benefits other than discounts on prescription drugs that drug card sponsors provided to beneficiaries."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 13, 2006

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Medicare: Sponsors' Management of the Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Benefit, text, January 13, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298472/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.