Fewer patients than expected are taking advantage of the Medicare Sec. 641 Demonstration Project, which would provide substantial savings for thalidomide to myeloma patients with Medicare coverage. The original September 30, 2004 application deadline will now likely be extended in order to give more eligible applicants time to obtain benefits.
An Associated Press story published on September 11, 2004 reported only 6,364 patients have applied for the program. Congress allocated limits of $500 million or 50,000 patients, whichever came first, for the demonstration project.
According to anecdotal information gathered by the IMF, approximately 400 myeloma patients throughout the nation have been accepted for the program. If accepted, the program can cover as much as 90% of annual costs for thalidomide through December 31, 2005 . The full Medicare prescription drug benefit is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2006 .
The program is available to Medicare beneficiaries who receive both Part A and Part B coverage. Because of the low numbers of applicants, the chances of being accepted are much higher than was first expected.
The application can be accessed at www.cms.hhs.gov/researchers/demos/drugcoveragedemo.asp.
Please contact the IMF at 800-452-CURE or Greg Brozeit at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Read past Myeloma Minutes on this topic:
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDICARE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM
August 19, 2004
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