FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
of New Medicare Drug Benefit and Low Income Subsidy on Eligibility
for Other Federal Programs
On December 8, 2003,
the President signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and
Modernization Act (MMA), which will offer all Medicare beneficiaries’
access to subsidized drug coverage beginning January 1, 2006. Medicare
beneficiaries with incomes below 150 percent of poverty and limited assets
are eligible for an additional low-income subsidy. The Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration, and
many States, will be conducting outreach and education activities to encourage
beneficiaries to apply for the low-income subsidy starting in May 2005.
Please develop and
implement clear guidance to assure that Federal programs administered
by your agency are ready for the launch of the Medicare drug benefit.
If your agency believes the new Part D benefit might affect eligibility
for one or more of your agency’s programs, please have your agency’s
staff consult with CMS and discuss this issue with your OMB Resource Management
Some examples of how the Part D benefit may affect eligibility for other
programs have been posted at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicarereform/drugcoveragefaqs.asp,
under the category “Low income.” If you have questions, or would
like further information on the Medicare drug benefit, please contact Leslie
Norwalk, Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
Department of Health and Human Services, at 202-690-6726.