CMS seeks out seniors who need Part D assistance

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The government is trying to reach 3 million to 4 million low-income seniors who are not receiving financial assistance in the Medicare prescription drug program.

It is particularly concerned about a group who lost low-income status this year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration last year notified more than 600,000 beneficiaries they no longer qualified for low-income subsidies going into the 2007 benefit year and would have to reapply.

The National Council on Aging is advocating a repeal of the assets test required for determining low-income subsidy eligibility. Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), a ranking member of the Aging Committee, said he would reintroduce legislation that would reform the asset test used to determine low-income subsidy eligibility. He also plans to reintroduce a bill that would eliminate cost-sharing for low-income seniors who receive long-term care outside of traditional nursing home facilities.