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Fed Regist. 2012 Jan 18;77(11):2446-8.

Amendments to regulations regarding eligibility for a Medicare prescription drug subsidy. Final rule.


This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2010. The interim final rule incorporated changes to the Medicare prescription drug coverage low-income subsidy (Extra Help) program made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) enacted in March 2010. Under our interpretation of section 3304 of the Affordable Care Act, if the death of a beneficiary's spouse would decrease or eliminate the subsidy provided by the Extra Help program, we will extend the effective period of eligibility for the most recent determination or redetermination until one year after the month following the month we are notified of the death of the spouse. The effective date of this provision was January 1, 2011. We also revised our regulations to incorporate changes made by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) which affect the way we account for income and resources when determining eligibility for the Extra Help program. The statute provides that we no longer count the value of any life insurance policy as a resource for Extra Help effective on and after January 1, 2010. As of that date, we also no longer count as income the help a beneficiary receives when someone else provides food and shelter, or pays household bills for food, mortgage, rent, electricity, water, property taxes, or heating fuel or gas. These revisions updated our rules to reflect these statutory changes.

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