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Dazed and Confused

Navigating the Abyss of the Medicare Act of 2003 for Low-Income Beneficiaries

By Alfred J. Chiplin Jr., Gill Deford, Vicki Gottlich & Patricia Nemore

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, a major restructuring of the Medicare program, offers beneficiaries limited assistance in paying for prescription drugs and increases benefit cost-sharing responsibilities. Through a new Part D, prescription drug benefits include a low-income subsidy. However, the Act eliminates all Medicaid drug coverage for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Advocates should find out how their states will determine eligibility for the subsidy, what the enrollment process will be, and how "dual eligibles" will be notified about their loss of Medicaid coverage and enrolled in a prescription drug benefit plan.

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