In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed significant changes to the prescription drug program, Medicare Part D. Among the most adverse was the proposal to end the practice of covering essentially any type of antidepressant, antipsychotic or immunosuppressant prescription drug for patients in the program. Needless to say this would hit the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) community the hardest because they require expensive immunosuppressants (transplant drugs) to ensure healthy transplants. Antidepressants are also often very necessary in the CKD community.
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Medicare said the cuts were meant to save taxpayers money and simplify the program. However after "strong opposition" from various health communities including our own, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Monday, March 17th, 2014 that the agency no longer plans to move forward with "certain elements" of its proposed changes to the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit Program.
Chiefly among the proposed changes was removing immunosuppressant drugs from "protected status" (Medicare must pay for all medicines in this category) along with antidepressants, cancer drugs and anti-seizure drugs starting in 2015.
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Kidney Care Partners is an alliance between patient advocates and CKD professionals. The organization stated, "Retaining the protected class status of these drugs will allow physicians to prescribe the most appropriate medicine tailored to each transplant patient." This is important, because no two patients are the same, and often Nephrologists have to work closely with their patients to see which assortment of medications are best to improve their circumstances. This can be very expensive, especially if the appropriate programs are not available for those who need them, many of whom are CKD patients.
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People with CKD who either require immunosuppressive drugs to sustain their new kidney or antidepressants to improve their quality of life can now rest easier as the recommended changes to Medicare Part D seem to have subsided. However, that does not change the fact that many individuals with CKD still struggle to afford their monthly medications. If this is the case for you then request a FREE copy of our e-book which will teach you how to save substantially on your monthly medication.
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"CMS Scraps Plans to Lift Protected Class Status of Transplant Drugs." Http://www.nephrologynews.com/. Nephrology News & Issues.
"Proposed Medicare Part D Drug Changes Are Scrapped." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company.