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WASHINGTON — The government will allow some private Medicare plans to be more discerning about how they cover prescription drugs, the Trump administration announced in a memo Tuesday.

Specifically, Medicare Advantage plans — private plan alternatives to Medicare that cover about 19 million beneficiaries across the country — will be allowed to require patients who need a costly physician-administered drug, like most chemotherapy, to first use cheaper drugs and see if they work before moving to more expensive drugs.

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