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Part D Challenges Described By CMS Official Reflect A Mature Program

Executive Summary

The main challenges facing Medicare Part D are those of a mature program as it enters its fifth year of providing prescription drug benefits

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CMS Budgets $110 Million For Broad Internal IT System Overhaul

CMS is planning a broad initiative aimed at making the wealth of data it collects from Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries more accessible and usable for analysis and is asking Congress for $110 million to accomplish it

CMS wants to narrow Medicare drug plan options

CMS is looking at ways to further "focus the number" of Medicare Part D drug plans to "really meaningful differences with respect to benefit plans and formularies," Tracey McCutcheon, deputy director of the agency's Medicare Drug Benefit Group, said at a Nov. 5 Alliance for Health Reform event. She said later that CMS is collecting data to "find a basis for cutting down on so many options," though it is struggling "to find a policy reason to negotiate away bids." For 2007 and 2008, CMS asked sponsors to limit bids to two plans unless a third plan offered a meaningful difference, such as gap coverage...

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