September 1st means new changes in Medicaid - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

September 1st means new changes in Medicaid

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September 1, 2006

Albany--If you're covered by Medicaid, new changes may effect how you obtain your prescription drugs.

The $7.4 billion health care plan for the poor started moving patients into privately operated care plans in June.

Now the rest of the state is officially following suit today.

Changes made to Medicaid have pharmacist Steffanie Sceals feeling a bit anxious. "It's going to be hard on us and the patients.  I don't feel that anybody's really feeling the pressure yet," says Sceals.

With these changes in the program, comes restrictions patients will have to get used to. "The formulary is much more limited which means that there are not as many drugs covered on the plans," she says.

As a result, Sceals worries confusion and frustration may follow. "When a patient presents a prescription not covered when then have to turn around and call their doctor to see if they have another alternative," she says.

Sceals says many of her own customers are not aware of the changes in Medicaid.

"Unfortunately, I don't think they have been well educated about the program, the changes in the program.  They're not going to have to do anything own there on. They're just going to send them a card and that will pretty much be it," she says.

As the new plan kicks into gear, she hopes anyone on the program will give the plan plenty of time to work properly.

"Try to be patient and understanding the first couple of weeks," she says.

The change in the Medicaid program is designed to lower health care costs for patients. The new plan will eventually cover 1.2 million Georgians.