Medicare Private Contracts:
June 4, 2001
What Happens if Medicare Pays for Rx Drugs?
While politicians from both major political parties
are debating how much federal revenue to spend on a
new prescription drug program under Medicare, no one
seems to be paying attention to how that program would
affect seniors' freedom to choose and pay privately
for their drugs. Many people seem to have forgotten
the prohibition that was placed on private contracts
with Medicare participants a few years ago. That prohibition
Was Section 4507 Repealed?
Now is an important time to revisit Section 4507 of the
Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Section 4507 says that before
any doctor or other health-care provider can accept private
payment from Medicare-participating seniors for Medicare-covered
services, the provider must promise not to accept Medicare
payments from all Medicare- participating seniors
for two years. The United Seniors Association challenged
this in federal court, but the court ducked the question
of the section's constitutionality. The court ruled only
that seniors are free to pay privately for services not
covered by Medicare.
Rx Drugs and Section 4507
What will happen if Medicare covers prescription drugs?
Will Section 4507 prohibit seniors from paying privately
for Medicare-covered drugs? Congress and President Bush
should clarify this important issue in any new Medicare
law. American seniors have the right to know how a new
Medicare program will affect their freedom to choose and
pay privately for medicines.
This article was originally published in the March/April
2001 issue of Health
American seniors have the right to know how a new
Medicare program will affect their freedom to choose
and pay privately for health care.