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Medicare seeks to stop overpayments for hospice patients' drugs

Kaiser Health News / The Washington Post, May 2, 2014

New Medicare guidance taking effect today aims to stop the federal government from paying millions of dollars to hospice organizations and drug insurance plans for the same prescriptions for seniors. But the changes may make it more difficult for dying patients to get some medications, senior advocates and hospice providers say. The new measures direct insurers not to pay for any prescriptions for hospice patients until they receive confirmation that the drugs are not covered instead by the hospice provider. Requiring additional authorization for these prescriptions will "prevent duplicate payments for drugs covered under the hospice benefit," Medicare officials told hospice providers and insurers in a conference call three weeks ago.