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Department of Health and Human Services
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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004

CMS Public Affairs Office
(202) 690-6145

HHS Announces Awards to States to Tell Low-Income Beneficiaries About 2006 Drug Benefit

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced $62.5 million in grants to 21 states for fiscal year 2005 to help educate low-income Medicare beneficiaries, who currently get their prescription drugs through state-funded programs, about the new Medicare drug benefit coming in 2006. Another $62.5 million will be available to these states in 2006.

The $125 million in funds for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 were set aside in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) for grants to state pharmaceutical assistance programs (SPAPs). The amount each state operating an SPAP will receive is based on the number of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in each program as of Oct. 1, 2003. Currently 20 states operate SPAPs.

"For low-income Medicare beneficiaries, the new prescription drug benefit will provide tremendous savings on their medicines. Our goal is to make sure people who now rely on state programs to help with prescription drugs will understand how the new Medicare benefit in 2006 will work together with their state programs," Secretary Thompson said. "These grants will go a long way toward making sure beneficiaries get the most out of the benefits available to them."

"This financial assistance for SPAPs will help them work with Medicare so that beneficiaries get the most out of the new drug benefit and the additional benefits that state programs can provide," said Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). "We will work with states to identify effective and tested methods to educate beneficiaries about their important new options for better drug coverage."

States with qualifying SPAPs can use the grant funds to educate their enrollees about the new Medicare Part D (drug) benefit. The funds can be used to establish telephone support and counseling for those eligible for the new prescription drug benefit to help them select and enroll in one of the new Part D plans.

CMS will work with states to share "best practices" in outreach and education that have proven effective in helping Medicare beneficiaries make the drug card choice that is best for them, and that states and other organizations have used to help beneficiaries understand how to take advantage of other new benefits.

The grants will also be used to aid in the coordination or enrollment, coverage and payment between the state funded drug programs and the new Part D.

Today's announcement is for fiscal 2005 awards. States will receive the same grant amounts for 2006 under the statutory formula. States getting funds in today's announcement include:

  • Connecticut $2.5 million
  • Delaware $301,887
  • Illinois $2.8 million
  • Indiana $886,723
  • Kansas $106,906
  • Maine $2 million
  • Maryland $1.7
  • Massachusetts $4 million
  • Michigan $701,793
  • Minnesota $371,976
  • Missouri $965,647
  • North Carolina $1.1 million
  • New Jersey $11.3 million
  • Nevada $408,581
  • New York $17 million
  • Pennsylvania $11.7 million
  • Rhode Island $1.9 million
  • Texas $901,640
  • Vermont $163,560
  • Wisconsin $1.1 million
  • Wyoming $50,782

Only SPAPs that provide financial assistance for the purchase of prescription drugs, not those that only provide discount cards or referral services, were eligible for the grants.

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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.

Last Revised: October 28, 2004

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