Montana Administrative Register Notice 37-734 No. 21   11/12/2015    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 37.81.304 pertaining to updating the Big Sky Rx maximum premiums to match the federal monthly benefit benchmark







TO: All Concerned Persons


          1. On December 2, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Public Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing in Room 207 of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Building, 111 North Sanders, at Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule.


2. The Department of Public Health and Human Services will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the Department of Public Health and Human Services no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 25, 2015, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail dphhslegal@mt.gov.


3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:


          37.81.304 AMOUNT OF THE BIG SKY RX BENEFIT (1) An applicant eligible for the Big Sky Rx PDP premium assistance may receive a benefit not to exceed $30.00 $30.90 per month. The benefit amount will not exceed $30.00 $30.90 regardless of the cost of the premium for the PDP the individual chooses.

          (a) If a portion of the applicant's PDP premium is paid through the Extra Help Program, the Big Sky Rx Program will pay the applicant's portion of the PDP premium up to $30.00 $30.90 per month.

          (b) remains the same.

          (c) All expenditures are contingent on legislative appropriation. The amount of the monthly benefit, $30.00 $30.90, extends the Social Security Extra Help benefit amount to Montana residents with income up to 200% FPL. The department's total expenditure for the program will be based on appropriation and the number of enrolled applicants.


AUTH: 53-2-201, 53-6-1004, MCA

IMP: 53-2-201, 53-6-1001, 53-6-1004, 53-6-1005, MCA




The Department of Public Health and Human Services (department) is proposing amendments to ARM 37.81.304 regarding the Big Sky Rx monthly benefit payment. This rule is being updated to match the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) for Medicare Part D for this region as set forth in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) letter dated July 29, 2015.


The proposed amendment attempts to clearly communicate to the public, program rules and guidelines. These amendments were proposed only after extensive consideration of their impact on recipients.


ARM 37.81.304


The department is proposing to change the Big Sky Rx monthly maximum benefit from $30.00 to $30.90. This proposed amendment is necessary to ensure the monthly benefit does not exceed the LIS set for this region. Since the inception of Big Sky Rx, the benefit has mirrored the LIS to ensure a reasonable and prudent monthly benefit for enrolled members.


Fiscal Impact


The number of people affected by the increase of the maximum premium from $30.00 to $30.90 is 4,337. This would increase the monthly benefit by $3,903.30 and yearly benefit by $46,839.00.


          5. The department intends to adopt this rule effective January 1, 2016.


          6. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail dphhslegal@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., December 10, 2015.


7. The Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Health and Human Services, has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.


8. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency.  Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 6 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.


9. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register.  The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of the notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered.  In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.


10. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.


11. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the amendment of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.


12. 53-6-196, MCA, requires that the department, when adopting by rule proposed changes in the delivery of services funded with Medicaid monies, make a determination of whether the principal reasons and rationale for the rule can be assessed by performance-based measures and, if the requirement is applicable, the method of such measurement. The statute provides that the requirement is not applicable if the rule is for the implementation of rate increases or of federal law.


The department has determined that the proposed program changes presented in this notice are not appropriate for performance-based measurement and therefore are not subject to the performance-based measures requirement of 53-6-196, MCA.




/s/ Susan Callaghan                              /s/ Mary Dalton acting for                      

Susan Callaghan, Attorney                     Richard H. Opper, Director

Rule Reviewer                                       Public Health and Human Services



Certified to the Secretary of State November 2, 2015.



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