BENEFITS BYTE

August 10, 2004
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Medicare Agency Announces August 19 Conference Call on Employer-Sponsored Prescription Drug Benefits

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it will host a nationwide Open Door Forum conference call on Thursday, August 19 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) to discuss the implementation of the new federal subsidy program and other options available to support the continuation of employer-sponsored retiree prescription drug benefits under the recently enacted Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA).

The August 19 Open Door Forum will include CMS staff and others who are expected to discuss how the proposed regulations to implement the MMA can benefit employers and retirees. The call is intended to assist employers, benefits consultants, health plans, actuaries and others in the employer benefits community to better understand the agency's proposed regulations on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit which starts in January 2006 and to seek public input on ways to make the implementation process less burdensome for retirees and employers.

For additional information on the CMS call, including dialing instructions, click here.

Please note: the CMS call on August 19 on employer-sponsored retiree prescription drug benefits is in addition to its previously scheduled August 16 Open Door Forum call, which is intended as a broad overview on all of the issues addressed in the agency's recent regulations to implement the MMA.

The Council has prepared a list of specific Medicare issues on which CMS is seeking comments. For additional information, please contact Paul Dennett, Council vice president, health policy, or Susan Relland, Council health policy legal counsel, at (202) 289-6700.

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.