Many H.M.O.’s for the Elderly Make Deep Cuts in Drug Aid The nation’s largest health insurers, which recruited elderly people to Medicare H.M.O.’s by dangling offers of free prescriptions, are eliminating drug coverage or demanding sharply higher payments for drugs and treatments from some of their sickest members.

The companies say they are losing so much money providing drug coverage that they have to limit what they offer if they are to stay in the Medicare market. But the cutbacks effectively leave the companies providing insurance to their healthy members, while tens of thousands of elderly patients with serious diseases like cancer have no affordable insurance coverage for their basic medical needs.

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