Your Weekly Medicare
Consumer Advocacy Update
Breaking Barriers to Preventive Care
July 1, 2010
Volume 1, Issue 18
Medicare consumers who have Extra Help, the federal program that helps pay for prescription drugs, receive a premium subsidy for Part D prescription drug coverage. This is why people with Extra Help pay no monthly premium if they are enrolled in a drug plan with a premium that is less than or approximately equal to the subsidy.
Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mailed a notice to the 1.6 million people with Extra Help who chose a drug plan with a premium above the subsidy amount. The notice informs these consumers that there are premium-free plans available. People with Extra Help are allowed to switch plans once per month at any time of the year.
The U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday voted to reverse a 21 percent cut to Medicare physician payments that took effect on June 1. The bill, which has now been signed into law by President Obama, delays the scheduled cuts until November 30, 2010.