Rule would eliminate premiums for some Part D enrollees

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A new regulation proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would allow some low-income Medicare beneficiaries, including dual-eligible individuals, to stay in their Medicare prescription drug plan without having to pay a premium.

Currently, low-income subsidies (LIS) help many people enrolled in Part D pay their premiums. As it stands, the premium for any individual Part D plan can be fully covered by the subsidy in one year and not the following year.  CMS also can move beneficiaries to a different plan if they would have to begin paying a premium. Many nursing home residents are dual-eligible beneficiaries - those who receive Medicare and Medicaid.

The new rule would allow drug plan sponsors to reduce the cost of their premiums for certain individuals who qualify for the LIS. It would effectively increase the number of LIS-eligible enrollees who could remain with their current plan without having to pay a premium.

This new rule was first proposed in the Federal Register can be found in its entirety at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PrescriptionDrugCovContra/downloads/CMS4133P.pdf. A final version of the rule is expected to be announced March 28.
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