Latebreakers: CMS proposes more plans for low-income patients

January 28, 2008

A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encourages prescription drug plans to offer reduced premium plans for low-income subsidized patients.

Looking to reduce the number of low-income subsidized patients it randomly assigns, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a new rule that would allow Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to offer reduced premiums for LIS beneficiaries. The new rule, which would take effect in 2009, aims to create at least five prescription drug plans in every region with premiums at or below the premium subsidy amount, including some zero-premium plans in each region. CMS reassigned more than 1 million beneficiaries in 2007. The rule would allow exceptions to the Part D regulation that currently require uniform premiums for PDPs. CMS anticipates that the new rule would save $20 million per year. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/eRulemaking/ until Mar. 10.