New CMS rule will allow more needy Medicare patients to stay in existing plan

April 7, 2008

Disruptions in switching low-income Medicare Part D patients from one drug plan to another will be reduced as a result of a new rule issued by CMS.

At present, Medicare Part D patients who use the low-income subsidy are reassigned to a different drug plan if their existing plan no longer offers zero premiums and they don?t state which plan they want to switch to. Thanks to a new final rule the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has just issued, many more such patients will be able to stay put without having to pay a premium. This improvement is made possible by changes in the way Medicare calculates its regional low-income subsidy benchmarks. CMS estimates that if this rule had been in place for 2008, there would have been 850,000 fewer plan reassignments. The