California Ends Medicare Part B Premium Payments For Some Beneficiaries
California beginning on Nov. 1 no longer will pay Medicare Part B premiums for about 57,000 Medicare beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, the Modesto Bee reports. The move was approved as part of the state's efforts to address the budget deficit. It is expected to reduce Medi-Cal spending by about $63 million in fiscal year 2008-2009.
Under the new policy, the $96.40 monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be deducted from beneficiaries' Social Security checks. The policy will apply only to dual eligibles with a Medi-Cal share of cost that exceeds $500, including single beneficiaries with incomes exceeding $1,100 per month and couples with incomes more than $1,434 per month.
The Department of Health Care Services mailed letters to the affected beneficiaries on Monday. DHCS spokesperson Norman Williams said that only one other state in the U.S. covers the cost of Medicare Part B premiums for dual eligibles with incomes above certain levels. He said the state does not receive federal matching funds for such spending (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 10/28).
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