To help organizations planning to submit bids to serve beneficiaries under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a wealth of valuable new information on it’s website.

Designed to help potential drug plan bidders better understand and estimate the Medicare population’s use of prescription drugs, the new data sets include:

– Drug utilization by seniors enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefit national Blue Cross Blue Shield plan: annual per capita utilization by state, broken down by spending, prescriptions filled, and supply days, and separately reported for total sales, retail sales and mail order. In Zip file.

Distributions of prescription drug expenses based on the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MBCS).

– Demographic characteristics such as age and sex, insurance characteristics (including existence of prescription drug coverage), summary Medicare Part A and Part B use and expenditures, and annual prescription drug expenditure (by various payer categories, including consumer payments).

Earlier, CMS released detailed information on Medicaid drug spending and use, including data on seven million dual Medicare-Medicaid eligibles.