Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman of Senate Special Committee on Aging, said he will introduce a bill to help bring a low-income subsidy for the Medicare Part D benefit to more needy beneficiaries. The subsidy covers part of seniors monthly premiums and cost-sharing. Kohl said the Social Security Administration, which determines some of the seniors who qualify for the subsidy, should have access to IRS data so it can better target the potentially eligible population. According to testimony at a committee hearing, 3 million to 4 million seniors who might be eligible for the subsidy are not signing up for Part D coverage. Thousands of others have lost their automatic eligibility for the subsidy and will have to apply for it on their own. Kohl said many seniors probably wont apply because the application process is too onerous. Witnesses at the hearing also said Congress should do away with an asset-eligibility test that makes poor retirees with a modest savings ineligible for the subsidy. -- by Jennifer Lubell
Kohl to address Medicare Part D subsidy
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