In 2011, fewer low-income seniors will be automatically switched into new Medicare Part D plans, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In 2010, 800,000 seniors qualifying for the low-income subsidy (LIS) were automatically moved into new plans to avoid paying a premium. This year, CMS anticipates that 500,000 will be reassigned to new plans.
Those who are reassigned will receive more information this year than they have in previous years about how the change will affect their drug coverage. In early November, LIS beneficiaries will receive a statement comparing their prospective zero-premium reassignment plan with their current plan, along with instructions on how to remain in their current plan if they choose. In December, reassigned beneficiaries will receive a second notice identifying which of their prescription drugs are included in their new plan’s formulary, along with instructions on how to appeal or file a grievance.