Magazine article Drug Topics

Bills Would Encourage More Cash, Fewer Medicaid Patients

Magazine article Drug Topics

Bills Would Encourage More Cash, Fewer Medicaid Patients

Article excerpt

Congress has cleared two separate pieces of legislation that may affect payments to community pharmacies down the road. One could spur an increase in cash customers. The other could cut the number of Medicaid beneficiaries coming in for prescriptions and also have a major impact on hospitals.

The first bill, designed to make health insurance portable, includes a four-year experiment with tax-deductible Medical Savings Accounts. MSAs will be used to cover out-of-pocket health-care expenses not met by a high-deductible policy or Medicare. NARD's house of delegates endorsed MSAs last year, noting that they could be used to pay for Rxs and pharmacist care. Some supporters of managed care view MSAs as a threat to the current third-party payment system for pharmacy because employees could opt out of their group plans and be able to choose their pharmacy. Earlier, President Clinton hinted he would veto legislation containing MSAs, but he later agreed to a pilot project limited to employees of businesses with fewer than 50 workers and capped at 750,000 policies. …

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