Date: August 23, 2007
House Passes H.R. 3162, The Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act of 2007
On August 1, 2007, the House passed H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act of 2007 by a vote of 225 to 204. Provisions in the Ways and Means Committee-reported version of the bill of interest to SSA were previously described in Legislative Bulletin 110-5. However, the House-passed version of H.R. 3162 contained several amendments adopted by the House Committee on Rules after Ways and Means reported the bill. The modifications of interest contained in the final House-passed bill are described below.
Financial Assistance for Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
• Clarifies that the Commissioner of Social Security would provide a simplified Medicare Savings Program (MSP) application (a nation-wide standard application developed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) to individuals who apply for Medicare benefits with SSA and to other individuals who inquire about MSPs at SSA offices. Additionally, while SSA would provide assistance to individuals in filling out these MSP applications, development and final adjudication of the forwarded applications would be the responsibility of the State Medicaid Agency.
• Would change the annual increase in allowable assets for MSPs and the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program . The Ways and Means-reported version of H.R. 3162 would increase the asset limits to $17,000 for an individual and $34,000 for a couple, with annual increases of $1,000 per individual and $2,000 per couple. As passed by the House, H.R. 3162 would adjust the annual asset limit according to increases in the consumer price index.
• Clarifies that self-certifications of income and resources made by individuals applying for the LIS program would not require documentation, but would be subject to verification (with existing data) by the Commissioner of Social Security. The Commissioner could request additional documentation of eligibility in “extraordinary situations.”
• Would cap out-of-pocket spending under Part D to 5 percent of income annually for the lowest-income Medicare beneficiaries. The Ways and Means-reported version of the bill had capped cost-sharing at 2.5 percent of income.
Extension of SSI Web-Based Asset Demonstration Project to the Medicaid Program (see footnote 1 below)
• Would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use the current process that SSA uses in the Access to Information Held by Financial Institutions pilot project to be utilized for verification of assets for Medicaid eligibility of individuals not applying for SSI. Extension to Medicaid would be limited to States in which the SSI demonstration project is operating.
The Senate has also passed a bill to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (H.R. 976) which does not include Medicare program changes. Provisions in the Senate bill of interest to SSA are described in Legislative Bulletin 110-9.
1 As written, this provision expands a fully automated (“web-based”) request and response process that does not yet exist. The current SSI asset verification demonstration project involves a manual workload in addition to web-based transactions.