The initial application deadline was August 16, 2004. The second application deadline is September 30, 2004. Beneficiaries in the first applicant pool will receive benefits on September 1, and those in the second pool will receive benefits by mid-October.
- It is likely that patients who apply for the program and meet its standards (they are Medicare beneficiaries who are being prescribed one of the drugs included in the program) will receive benefits. Initial predictions that applications would exceed slots by a factor of ten now seem to be exaggerated. A random selection process may not be necessary.
- Assistance is available for those who have difficulty completing the application form. Representatives of Trailblazer Health, the contractor responsible for program administration, will fill out the application form while on the phone with a beneficiary and mail the completed form to the beneficiary for signature.
- The Drug Demonstration program is NOT the same program as the Medicare Drug Discount Card and provides patients more substantial benefits than the Discount Card.
- Physicians may fax to CMS the completed physician certification form. Trailblazer Health will take responsibility for matching the certification form with the patient application, a process that should facilitate the completion of applications. ASCO and ASH have both provided their members with clarification, consistent with advice from CMS, regarding ambiguities in the certification form.
- Cancer patients should find that their hematologists and oncologists are informed about the program, as ASCO and ASH have undertaken efforts to educate their members about the program and their responsibility to complete the certification form.
Updated materials on the program, including the application form, are available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/researchers/demos/drugcoveragedemo.asp. If you have any questions, call them at 866-563-5386.
Read Past Myeloma Minutes on this Topic:
Special Myeloma Minute: Medicare eligible? Apply NOW to save 90% of thalidomide costs!
August 5, 2004
MYELOMA MINUTE SPECIAL EDITION: THALIDOMIDE TO BE COVERED IN MEDICARE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT
June 24, 2004