June 24, 2005

Medicaid Restricts Drug Limits

Starting July 1st the number of prescriptions allowed for those using Medicaid will be reduced. There will be a 2 prescription limit on brand name drugs a month, and only 5 drugs a month will be allowed. Prior to this policy 7 prescriptions were allowed on a month to month basis. Many people are asking that lawmakers allow an exception for those who have a mental disorder and for those who have HIV or AIDS. Many people are unsure of what they will do in the coming month because their current prescription needs surpass what will now be allowed by Medicaid. Some drugs do not even have generics available, specifically some of the HIV medication that many use.

Some people have even gone to the extreme of moving out of the state because they need to. One man who has HIV will be moving to New Orleans so that he can get the medication that he needs to control his symptoms and survive. There will be some help for those who are going to be detrimentally affected by this policy.

"Without proper medication, the mentally ill could harm someone or move into the state's mental health facilities, proponents say. For Mississippians suffering from HIV and AIDS, three brand-name medications are required to control symptoms... Mental health patients will be aided by the Comprehensive Neurological Program, he[Medicaid Director Warren Jones] said. HIV and AIDS patients will be assisted through the sole source purchasing program, however, details of the programs were unavailable" (Hipp, 2005).

The effects that this will have on the mentally ill community and those with HIV/ AIDS is undeniable, but hopefully programs such as the Comprehensive Neurological Program will be able to make up for the deficiency.

To learn more about Medicaid and its policies in your state go to: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/medicaidrx.htm

The source of this article was The Clarion-Ledger

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