Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.
This notice announces Medicare's Hospital Insurance (Part A) premium for uninsured enrollees in calendar year 2021. This premium is paid by enrollees age 65 and over who are not otherwise eligible for benefits under Medicare Part A (hereafter known as the “uninsured aged”) and by certain individuals with disabilities who have exhausted other entitlement. The monthly Part A premium for the 12 months beginning January 1, 2021 for these individuals will be $471. The premium for certain other individuals as described in this notice will be $259.
The premium announced in this notice is effective on January 1, 2021.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Yaminee Thaker, (410) 786-7921.
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Section 1818 of the Social Security Act (the Act) provides for voluntary enrollment in the Medicare Hospital Insurance Program (Medicare Part A), subject to payment of a monthly premium, of certain persons aged 65 and older who are uninsured under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program or the Railroad Retirement Act and do not otherwise meet the requirements for entitlement to Medicare Part A. These “uninsured aged” individuals are uninsured under the OASDI program or the Railroad Retirement Act, because they do not have 40 quarters of coverage under Title II of the Act (or are/were not Start Printed Page 71914married to someone who did). (Persons insured under the OASDI program or the Railroad Retirement Act and certain others do not have to pay premiums for Medicare Part A.)
Section 1818A of the Act provides for voluntary enrollment in Medicare Part A, subject to payment of a monthly premium for certain individuals with disabilities who have exhausted other entitlement. These are individuals who were entitled to coverage due to a disabling impairment under section 226(b) of the Act, but who are no longer entitled to disability benefits and premium-free Medicare Part A coverage because they have gone back to work and their earnings exceed the statutorily defined “substantial gainful activity” amount (section 223(d)(4) of the Act).
Section 1818A(d)(2) of the Act specifies that the provisions relating to premiums under section 1818(d) through section 1818(f) of the Act for the aged will also apply to certain individuals with disabilities as described above.
Section 1818(d)(1) of the Act requires us to estimate, on an average per capita basis, the amount to be paid from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund for services incurred in the upcoming calendar year (CY) (including the associated administrative costs) on behalf of individuals aged 65 and over who will be entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A. We must then determine the monthly actuarial rate for the following year (the per capita amount estimated above divided by 12) and publish the dollar amount for the monthly premium in the succeeding CY. If the premium is not a multiple of $1, the premium is rounded to the nearest multiple of $1 (or, if it is a multiple of 50 cents but not of $1, it is rounded to the next highest $1).
Section 13508 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Pub. L. 103-66) amended section 1818(d) of the Act to provide for a reduction in the premium amount for certain voluntary enrollees (sections 1818 and 1818A of the Act). The reduction applies to an individual who is eligible to buy into the Medicare Part A program and who, as of the last day of the previous month:
- Had at least 30 quarters of coverage under Title II of the Act;
- Was married, and had been married for the previous 1-year period, to a person who had at least 30 quarters of coverage;
- Had been married to a person for at least 1 year at the time of the person's death if, at the time of death, the person had at least 30 quarters of coverage; or
- Is divorced from a person and had been married to the person for at least 10 years at the time of the divorce if, at the time of the divorce, the person had at least 30 quarters of coverage.
Section 1818(d)(4)(A) of the Act specifies that the premium that these individuals will pay for CY 2021 will be equal to the premium for uninsured aged enrollees reduced by 45 percent.
Section 1818(g) of the Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (the Secretary), at the request of a state, to enter into a Part A buy-in agreement with a state to pay Medicare Part A premiums for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs). Under the QMB program, state Medicaid agencies must pay the Medicare Part A premium for those not eligible for premium-free Part A if those individuals meet all of the eligibility requirements for the QMB program under the state's Medicaid state plan. (Entering into a Part A buy-in agreement would permit a state to avoid any Medicare late enrollment penalties that the individual may owe and would allow states to enroll persons in Part A at any time of the year, without regard to Medicare enrollment periods). Some of these individuals may be eligible for the Qualified Disabled Working Individuals program, through which state Medicaid programs provide coverage for the Part A premiums of individuals eligible to enroll in Part A by virtue of section 1818A of the Act who meet certain financial eligibility criteria.
II. Monthly Premium Amount for CY 2021
The monthly premium for the uninsured aged and certain individuals with disabilities who have exhausted other entitlement for the 12 months beginning January 1, 2021, is $471. The monthly premium for the individuals eligible under section 1818(d)(4)(B) of the Act, and therefore, subject to the 45 percent reduction in the monthly premium, is $259.
III. Monthly Premium Rate Calculation
As discussed in section I of this notice, the monthly Medicare Part A premium is equal to the estimated monthly actuarial rate for CY 2021 rounded to the nearest multiple of $1 and equals one-twelfth of the average per capita amount, which is determined by projecting the number of Medicare Part A enrollees aged 65 years and over as well as the benefits and administrative costs that will be incurred on their behalf.
The steps involved in projecting these future costs to the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund are:
- Establishing the present cost of services furnished to beneficiaries, by type of service, to serve as a projection base;
- Projecting increases in payment amounts for each of the service types; and
- Projecting increases in administrative costs.
We base our projections for CY 2021 on—(1) current historical data; and (2) projection assumptions derived from current law and the President's Fiscal Year 2021 Budget.
We estimate that in CY 2021, 54,661,560 people aged 65 years and over will be entitled to (enrolled in) benefits (without premium payment) and that they will incur about $308.997 billion in benefits and related administrative costs. Thus, the estimated monthly average per capita amount is $471.08 and the monthly premium is $471. Subsequently, the full monthly premium reduced by 45 percent is $259.
IV. Costs to Beneficiaries
The CY 2021 premium of $471 is approximately 2.8 percent higher than the CY 2020 premium of $458. We estimate that approximately 706,000 enrollees will voluntarily enroll in Medicare Part A by paying the full premium. We estimate that over 90 percent of these individuals will have their Part A premium paid for by states, since they are enrolled in the QMB program. Furthermore, the CY 2021 reduced premium of $259 is approximately 2.8 percent higher than the CY 2020 premium of $252. We estimate an additional 84,000 enrollees will pay the reduced premium. Therefore, we estimate that the total aggregate cost to enrollees paying these premiums in CY 2021, compared to the amount that they paid in CY 2020, will be about $117 million.
V. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking
We ordinarily publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register and invite public comment prior to a rule taking effect in accordance with section 1871 of the Act and section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Section 1871(a)(2) of the Act provides that no rule, requirement, or other statement of policy (other than a national coverage determination) that establishes or changes a substantive legal standard governing the scope of benefits, the payment for services, or the eligibility of individuals, entities, or organizations to furnish or receive services or benefits under Medicare shall take effect unless it is promulgated through notice and comment rulemaking. Unless there is a statutory exception, section 1871(b)(1) Start Printed Page 71915of the Act generally requires the Secretary to provide for notice of a proposed rule in the Federal Register and provide a period of not less than 60 days for public comment before establishing or changing a substantive legal standard regarding the matters enumerated by the statute. Similarly, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) of the APA, the agency is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register before a substantive rule takes effect. Section 553(d) of the APA and section 1871(e)(1)(B)(i) of the Act usually require a 30-day delay in effective date after issuance or publication of a rule, subject to exceptions. Sections 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3) of the APA provide for exceptions from the advance notice and comment requirement and the delay in effective date requirements. Sections 1871(b)(2)(C) and 1871(e)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act also provide exceptions from the notice and 60-day comment period and the 30-day delay in effective date. Section 553(b)(B) of the APA and section 1871(b)(2)(C) of the Act expressly authorize an agency to dispense with notice and comment rulemaking for good cause if the agency makes a finding that notice and comment procedures are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.
The annual Part A premium announcement set forth in this notice does not establish or change a substantive legal standard regarding the matters enumerated by the statute or constitute a substantive rule which would be subject to the notice requirements in section 553(b) of the APA. However, to the extent that an opportunity for public notice and comment could be construed as required for this notice, we find good cause to waive this requirement.
Section 1818(d) of the Act requires the Secretary during September of each year to determine and publish the amount to be paid, on an average per capita basis, from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund for services incurred in the impending CY (including the associated administrative costs) on behalf of individuals aged 65 and over who will be entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A. Further, the statute requires that the agency determine the applicable premium amount for each CY in accordance with the statutory formula, and we are simply notifying the public of the changes to the Medicare Part A premiums for CY 2021. We have calculated the Part A premiums as directed by the statute; the statute establishes both when the premium amounts must be published and the information that the Secretary must factor into the premium amounts, so we do not have any discretion in that regard. We find notice and comment procedures to be unnecessary for this notice and we find good cause to waive such procedures under section 553(b)(B) of the APA and section 1871(b)(2)(C) of the Act, if such procedures may be construed to be required at all. Through this notice, we are simply notifying the public of the updates to the Medicare Part A premiums, in accordance with the statute, for CY 2021. As such, we also note that even if notice and comment procedures were required for this notice, for the reasons stated above, we would find good cause to waive the delay in effective date of the notice, as additional delay would be contrary to the public interest under section 1871(e)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act. Publication of this notice is consistent with section 1818(d) of the Act, and we believe that any potential delay in the effective date of the notice, if such delay were required at all, could cause unnecessary confusion both for the agency and Medicare beneficiaries.
VI. Collection of Information Requirements
This document does not impose information collection requirements, that is, reporting, recordkeeping or third-party disclosure requirements. Consequently, there is no need for review by the Office of Management and Budget under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).
VII. Regulatory Impact Analysis
Although this notice does not constitute a substantive rule, we nevertheless prepared this Regulatory Impact Analysis section in the interest of ensuring that the impacts of this notice are fully understood.
A. Statement of Need
Section 1818(d) of the Act requires the Secretary during September of each year to determine and publish the amount to be paid, on an average per capita basis, from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund for services incurred in the impending CY (including the associated administrative costs) on behalf of individuals aged 65 and over who will be entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A.
B. Overall Impact
We have examined the impacts of this rule as required by Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review (September 30, 1993), Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review (January 18, 2011), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (September 19, 1980, Pub. L. 96-354), section 1102(b) of the Social Security Act, section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (March 22, 1995; Pub. L. 104-4), Executive Order 13132 on Federalism (August 4, 1999), the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 804(2)), and Executive Order 13771 on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (January 30, 2017).
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as an action that is likely to result in a rule: (1) Having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more in any 1 year, or adversely and materially affecting a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or state, local or tribal governments or communities (also referred to as “economically significant”); (2) creating a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfering with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) materially altering the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raising novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.
A regulatory impact analysis (RIA) must be prepared for major rules with economically significant effects ($100 million or more in any 1 year). Although we do not consider this notice to constitute a substantive rule, this notice is economically significant under section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866. As stated in section IV of this notice, we estimate that the overall effect of the changes in the Part A premium will be a cost to voluntary enrollees (sections 1818 and 1818A of the Act) of about $117 million.
The RFA requires agencies to analyze options for regulatory relief of small entities, if a rule has a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. For purposes of the RFA, small entities include small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Most hospitals and most other providers and Start Printed Page 71916suppliers are small entities, either by being nonprofit organizations or by meeting the Small Business Administration's definition of a small business (having revenues of less than $8.0 million to $41.5 million in any 1 year). Individuals and states are not included in the definition of a small entity. This annual notice announces the Medicare Part A premiums for CY 2021 and will have an impact on certain Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, we are not preparing an analysis for the RFA because the Secretary has determined that this notice will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
In addition, section 1102(b) of the Act requires us to prepare an RIA if a rule may have a significant impact on the operations of a substantial number of small rural hospitals. This analysis must conform to the provisions of section 604 of the RFA. For purposes of section 1102(b) of the Act, we define a small rural hospital as a hospital that is located outside of a metropolitan statistical area and has fewer than 100 beds. This annual notice announces the Medicare Part A premiums for CY 2021 and will have an impact on certain Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, we are not preparing an analysis for section 1102(b) of the Act, because the Secretary has determined that this notice will not have a significant impact on the operations of a substantial number of small rural hospitals.
Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 also requires that agencies assess anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule whose mandates require spending in any 1 year of $100 million in 1995 dollars, updated annually for inflation. In 2020, that threshold is approximately $156 million. This notice does not impose mandates that will have a consequential effect of $156 million or more on state, local, or tribal governments or on the private sector.
Executive Order 13132 establishes certain requirements that an agency must meet when it promulgates a proposed rule (and subsequent final rule) that imposes substantial direct requirement costs on state and local governments, preempts state law, or otherwise has Federalism implications. This notice will not have a substantial direct effect on state or local governments, preempt state law, or otherwise have Federalism implications.
Executive Order 13771, titled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” was issued on January 30, 2017 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017). It has been determined that this notice is a transfer notice that does not impose more than de minimis costs and thus is not a regulatory action for the purposes of E.O. 13771.
In accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 12866, this notice was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
C. Congressional Review
Consistent with the Congressional Review Act provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this notice has been transmitted to the Congress and the Comptroller General for review.
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Dated: October 30, 2020.
Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Dated: November 2, 2020.
Alex M. Azar II,
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 2020-25028 Filed 11-6-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4120-01-P