TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida will temporarily pay for prescription drugs for seniors who were improperly denied coverage under the new Medicare drug program, Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday.

The state, which has one of the highest elderly populations in the country, joins more than 20 others that have opted to continue the emergency coverage.

The governor said in Washington that he would sign an executive order to immediately begin paying for drugs for as many as 100,000 people.

“But say it’s (only) 50,” Bush said. “These are, in many cases, people who have complex medical needs that require prescription drugs for them to maintain their health and based on the law they should not be coming out of pocket.”

The help will last at least until Feb. 15, at which time Bush said kinks in the program should be worked out. Federal officials said Tuesday they would reimburse states.

Since the prescription medicine program began on Jan. 1, tens of thousands of elderly people have been unable to get medicines promised by the government.

The people affected often didn’t show up in pharmacists’ computers as being enrolled in a plan. On other occasions, the residents were charged fees for their medicine that far exceeded what they were supposed to pay.


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