This provision was formally codified in the final MA/Part D rule issued on April 15, 2011 (see pp. 21451-53).
On July 29, Medicare announced that the average premium for a Medicare Part D plan in 2017 is projected to remain stable at an est. $34 per month, representing an increase of approximately $1.50 over the average 2016 premium of $32.56. In the announcement acting administrator Slavitt noted that he was “increasingly concerned about the rising cost of drugs, especially high-cost specialty drugs, and the impact of these costs on the Medicare program.”
SEC. 3303. VOLUNTARY DE MINIMIS POLICY FOR SUBSIDY ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS UNDER PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS AND MA–PD PLANS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 1860D–14(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–114(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ‘‘(5) WAIVER OF DE MINIMIS PREMIUMS.—The Secretary shall, under procedures established by the Secretary, permit a prescription drug plan or an MA–PD plan to waive the monthly beneficiary premium for a subsidy eligible individual if the amount of such premium is de minimis. If such premium is waived under the plan, the Secretary shall not reassign subsidy eligible individuals enrolled in the plan to other plans based on the fact that the monthly beneficiary premium under the plan was greater than the low-income benchmark premium amount.’’. (b) AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY TO AUTO-ENROLL SUBSIDY ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS IN PLANS THAT WAIVE DE MINIMIS PRE- MIUMS.—Section 1860D–1(b)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–101(b)(1)) is amended— (1) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ‘‘except as provided in subparagraph (D),’’ after ‘‘shall include,’’ (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘‘(D) SPECIAL RULE FOR PLANS THAT WAIVE DE MINIMIS PREMIUMS.—The process established under subparagraph (A) may include, in the case of a part D eligible individual who is a subsidy eligible individual (as defined in section 1860D–14(a)(3)) who has failed to enroll in a prescription drug plan or an MA–PD plan, for the enrollment in a prescription drug plan or MA–PD plan that has waived the monthly beneficiary premium for such subsidy eligible individual under section 1860D–14(a)(5). If there is more than one such plan available, the Secretary shall enroll such an individual under the preceding sentence on a random basis among all such plans in the PDP region. Nothing in the previous sentence shall prevent such an individual from declining or changing such enrollment.’’. (c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to premiums for months, and enrollments for plan years, beginning on or after January 1, 2011.