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Session Law

2006

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Chapter 286 AN ACT ALLOWING ADJUSTMENTS TO THE PRESCRIPTION ADVANTAGE PROGRAM.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to maintain forthwith fiscal viability of the subsidized catastrophic prescription drug insurance program, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in order to maintain the fiscal viability of the subsidized catastrophic prescription drug insurance program, hereinafter referred to as the "prescription advantage program", authorized by section 39 of chapter 19A of the General Laws, cost sharing required of enrollees in the form of co-payments, premiums, and deductibles, or any combination thereof, may be adjusted by the department of elder affairs to reflect price trends for outpatient prescription drugs, as determined by the secretary of elder affairs. The secretary shall not implement such cost sharing increases required of enrollees in the form of co-payments, premiums, and deductibles or any combination thereof, unless the executive office has given 90 days notice to the general court and has received approval of the proposed plan from a majority of the general court. In addition to the eligibility requirements set forth in said section 39 of said chapter 19A, to be considered eligible for the prescription advantage program, individuals who receive Medicare and are applying for, or are then enrolled in, the prescription advantage program shall also be enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan, a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, or in a plan which provides creditable prescription drug coverage as defined by section 104 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, hereinafter referred to as "MMA," and which provides coverage of the cost of prescription drugs actuarially equal to or better than that provided by Medicare Part D, hereinafter a "creditable coverage" plan.

In addition to the eligibility requirements set forth in said section 39 of said chapter 19A, to be considered eligible for the prescription advantage program, individuals who receive Medicare and are applying for, or are then enrolled in, the prescription advantage program, who may qualify for the low-income subsidy, so-called, provided under the MMA Subpart P - Premiums and cost-sharing subsidies for low-income individuals, shall apply for those subsidies. To the extent permitted by MMA and regulations promulgated thereunder, and all other applicable federal law, the prescription advantage program may apply on behalf of a member for enrollment into a Medicare prescription drug plan or for the low-income subsidy provided under MMA and may receive information about the member's eligibility and enrollment status necessary for the operation of the prescription advantage program.
For enrollees who qualify for enrollment in a Medicare Part D plan, the prescription advantage program will provide a supplemental source of financial assistance for prescription drug costs, hereinafter referred to as "supplemental assistance" in lieu of the catastrophic prescription drug coverage provided pursuant to said section 39 of said chapter 19A. The prescription advantage program will provide supplemental assistance for premiums, deductibles, payments, and co-payments required by a Medicare prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, and will provide supplemental assistance for deductibles, payments and co-payments required by a creditable coverage plan. The department shall establish the amount of the supplemental assistance it will provide enrollees based on a sliding income scale and the coverage provided by the enrollees' Medicare prescription drug plan, Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, or creditable coverage plan. In addition to the eligibility requirements set forth in section 39 of said chapter 19A, to be considered eligible for the prescription advantage program, an individual must have a household income of less than 500 per cent of the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).

Residents of the commonwealth who are not eligible for Medicare will continue to be eligible for the prescription advantage program pursuant to said section 39 of said chapter 19A.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2006.

Passed without Governor’s signature, September 1, 2006.


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