By Derek Ishaque
Pharmacy News
January 04, 2013

Medicare to Expand Part D Coverage for Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines

In March of 2010, President Obama signed into law two separate Federal Acts which included modifications for Medicare and Medicaid.  The Acts are titled the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA).   

As it pertains to future Medicare coverage, one of these Federal Acts sought to update coverage guidelines for certain classes of drugs which have been traditionally excluded from coverage.  Beginning January 1, 2013, Medicare Part D will cover benzodiazepines (no restriction on use) as well as barbiturates when used in the treatment of epilepsy, cancer, or a chronic mental disorder only.


(a) In general. — Section 1860D–2(e)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–102(e)(2)(A)) is amended by inserting after “agents),” the following: “other than subparagraph (I) of such section (relating to barbiturates) if the barbiturate is used in the treatment of epilepsy, cancer, or a chronic mental health disorder, and other than subparagraph (J) of such section (relating to benzodiazepines),”. 42 USC 1395w—102(e)(2)(A) (P.L. 110-275, §175(a))

(b) Effective date.—The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to prescriptions dispensed on or after January 1, 2013. 

Author Description

Derek Ishaque

Derek is the Owner and CEO of SCRx Pharmacy. He has previous experience in Investment Banking at Bear Stearns and private equity at Bridgescale Partners. Derek has a B.S. in Finance from USC.

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