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Health Agencies Update
March 27, 2018

CMS to Improve Drug Programs and Opioid Overuse Oversight

JAMA. 2018;319(12):1189. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.2785

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed changing the Medicare health and drug programs in 2019 to cover services that improve quality of life and improving oversight of opioid overutilization by patients enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

The CMS is redefining health-related supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage plans, in which about a third of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled—an all-time high. Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private companies approved by CMS, have covered some services, such as vision, hearing, and dental care that are not covered by traditional Medicare. But CMS has not allowed these plans to cover services that did not “prevent, cure, or diminish an illness or injury.”