Kaiser Permanente Will Pay for Dual Eligibles Enrolled in Kaiser Medicare HMO Plans
Kaiser Permanente in 2006 will pay Medicare HMO premiums for people dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal who are members of Kaiser plans, company officials announced Thursday, the Oakland Tribune reports. Kaiser will pay the premiums under an agreement with CMS (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 12/9).
State officials in November announced that California will no longer pay Medicare managed care premiums for dual eligibles when the new Medicare prescription drug benefit begins Jan. 1, 2006. The state has paid the premiums for dual eligibles since 2000 as a way to reduce prescription drug costs. However, drug coverage for dual eligibles will be shifted from Medi-Cal to Medicare when the Medicare drug benefit takes effect (California Healthline, 11/4).
CMS Regional Administrator Jeff Flick said that federal rules normally prohibit health plans from paying premiums for groups of members but that the Kaiser plan was approved in this instance. Kaiser has gained approval for similar deals in other states, Flick said.
Kaiser in 2006 plans to file an application with CMS to qualify as a "special needs plan" to make the arrangement permanent (Oakland Tribune, 12/9).
Additional information on the Medicare drug benefit is available online.