Low-income seniors helped.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed new
rules that would allow more low-income Medicare beneficiaries to remain
in their current prescription drug plan without having to pay a premium.
Each year, CMS recalculates the amount of premium that will be paid by
Medicare for low-income beneficiaries in each region, meaning that
individual Part D plans might be fully covered by the subsidy in one
year but not the next year. Until now, CMS has randomly reassigned some
beneficiaries to another Part D plan if their current plan's
premium would be higher than the subsidy amount. The new rules, proposed
last month and slated to be finalized in time for the 2009 plan year,
would allow some prescription plan sponsors to offer a reduced premium
to some individuals eligible for the low-income subsidy. The proposal
would apply in regions where there otherwise would be fewer than five
prescription drug plan sponsors with a "zero-premium" plan
option for low-income beneficiaries.