West Virginia pharmacists are complaining they have spent hours on the phone trying to help Medicare beneficiaries and have had to turn customers away since a new federal prescription drug benefit went into effect January 1st.

Insurance companies providing the benefit have not updated their computer databases, says Richard Stevens of the West Virginia Pharmacists Association.

He complained that if every field isn't filled in on these databases, the claim is rejected.

Stevens says many people who enrolled in one of the dozens of plans, never got their ID cards.

Some seniors received cards, but their claims wouldn't go through when pharmacists tried to process them.

Some have been told to pay a $30 co-pay when they owed much less. Others were just told they don't have coverage, said Stevens.

Linda Calvert is director of the West Virginia State Health Insurance Assistance Program. She says anyone with trouble verifying coverage should try first to resolve the problem with the pharmacy or insurance company, then call:

1-877-987-4463 or 1-800-633-4227 for assistance.

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