Saturday, March 8, 2008

Low income Part D beneficiaries stand to lose subsidies on April 1

From the Center for Medicare Advocacy:The Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun mailing "SSA Medicare Prescription Drug Assistance Notice of Termination" letters to some beneficiaries who are currently receiving the low-income subsidy (LIS) or "Extra Help."  The letters are being sent to beneficiaries who did not provide SSA with information it requested to determine their continuing eligibility for the LIS. About 76,000 beneficiaries began receiving this mailing during the week of March 2. Beneficiaries who do not act immediately upon receiving the letter to request an appeal will no longer receive the LIS to pay for Part D premiums and cost-sharing effective April 1.
SSA requested information in September 2007 as part of its formal redetermination process.  The process, which was completed in February, involved multiple attempts by SSA to contact beneficiaries who were subject to redetermination.  SSA indicates that approximately 80,000 people responded to its follow-up contacts; people who responded should not receive the SSA "Medicare Prescription Drug Assistance Notice of Termination" letter being sent out this week. Beneficiaries who believe they are, or even might still be, eligible for the LIS should contact SSA within 10 days of receiving their letter to request an appeal.  If they do so, they can continue receiving LIS until their appeal has been decided, regardless of whether it is decided in their favor.
Appeals can be filed after the 10 days but not later than 60 days after receiving the SSA letter, but beneficiaries filing after the first 10 days will not continue to receive LIS pending their appeal.  LIS may also continue for beneficiaries who can show good cause why they did not file an appeal within 10 days


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