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Medicare Prescription Drug Act - Keeps Exclusion for Preneed Trusts

On December 8, 2003 President Bush signed into law, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (Pub. L. No. 108-173). As an advantage for funeral directors, the act does not eliminate the current exclusion for preneed funeral and burial trusts in order ot qualify for this benefit. While the benefit does not begin until 2006, this law creates a temporary presectioption drug discount card program expected to being in June 2004. Both the prescription benefit and the discount card porgram allow for subsidies for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. They also use different mechanisms and requirements for obtaining the subsidy.

Joyce Cowen, Esq. from the lawfirm of Epstein Becker & Green, Washington, D.C. has prepared an analysis on whether or not the new Medicare/Medicaid prescription drug bill would impact the funeral/burial trust exclusion for eligibility under this new program.