Proposed Changes to Medicare Part D

In January, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for Medicare Part D that would greatly impact the Parkinson’s community if finalized.

Chief among the worrisome provisions is the removal of antidepressants as a “protected class” under Medicare Part D. Currently, under the Medicare program, Part D prescription drug plans must cover all or substantially all of drugs in six classes: anti-retrovirals; immunosuppressants; antidepressants; anti-psychotics; anti-convulsant agents; and anti-neoplastics. The proposed rule would remove the “protected” status for antidepressants and immunosuppressants in Calendar Year (CY) 2015 and anti-psychotics in CY 2016.

Since a significant amount of people with Parkinson’s rely on antidepressants, removing these drugs from the protected classes would limit access to the medications needed to treat a common co-morbidity of Parkinson’s disease.

PAN has been reviewing the relevant provisions, working with our partners on the MAPRx Coalition and the Partnership for Part D Access, and attended a meeting with White House staff to communicate our concerns. Even Members of Congress, including all 24 members of the Senate Finance Committee and 50 members of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees, have called upon CMS to retain the six protected classes.

PAN has submitted comments to CMS objecting to this change and will provide more information as this work progresses.

For more information, please contact Jennifer at [email protected].

Date originally posted:  March 7, 2014.