CMS Proposes to Update Medicare Enrollment and Eligibility Rules

On April 22, CMS issued a proposed rule to implement sections of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) that would simplify Medicare enrollment rules and extend the coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for certain beneficiaries.  Section 120 of the CAA makes changes to Original Medicare by revising the effective dates of coverage and allowing for the establishment of new special enrollment periods (SEPs) for individuals who meet exceptional conditions.  Section 402 of the CAA extends immunosuppressive drug coverage under Part B for certain individuals whose Medicare entitlement based on end-stage renal disease (ESRD) would otherwise end.  This rule also proposes other non-CAA-related changes to improve state payment of Medicare premiums, and a technical change related to how enrollment forms are referenced in regulations. According to MedPAC, about one-fifth of Medicare beneficiaries live in rural areas.  Comment by June 27.