National Assisted Living Organization Praises Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder For Cosponsoring Bill That Seeks To Eliminate Part D Co-Pays for Dual Eligibles
Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) praised Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) for becoming a cosponsor of the House’s Medicare Part D Home and Community Services Copayment Equity Act of 2008 (HR 5604). This legislation would provide dual eligibles—those covered by both Medicare and Medicaid—living in our nation’s assisted living residences and other home- and community-based settings (HCBS) the same co-pay coverage under Medicare Part D as those residing in nursing facilities.
“We thank Rep. Snyder for his support of this bill which seeks to eliminate Medicare Part D copayments for seniors who are frail and have limited incomes,” said David Kyllo, executive director of NCAL. “These senior citizens often require the same number of prescriptions as seniors in nursing facilities. Yet this group of low-income assisted living residents is often unable to afford their copayments and therefore may be denied access to these crucial medicines.”
Dual eligible assisted living residents on average take eight to ten medications. With Part D drug copayments ranging from one to more than five dollars, their expenditures can quickly add up and exceed the resident’s state monthly personal needs allowance under Medicaid.
NCAL organized a coalition of more than 35 national organizations representing consumers, geriatric care professionals, health care and long term care providers, pharmacists, and state officials to work together to remedy this gap in prescription coverage for low-income seniors.
However, though more states are opting to use Medicaid to cover assisted living services, a new federal government report shows that the Medicaid population in assisted living facilities declined somewhat from 2004 to 2007. According to Kyllo, a variety of federal and state policies could be playing a role in the decline, including the Part D copayment requirement and Medicaid reimbursement rates and policies.
The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) represents more than 2,700 not-for-profit and proprietary assisted living and residential care communities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional compassionate care and services for the elderly and disabled. NCAL is the assisted living voice of the American Health Care Association.