(a) General requirements.
(1) A Part C organization and Medicare cost plan may not require enrollment in an endorsed discount card program as a condition for enrollment in its Part C plan or Medicare cost plan.
(2) A Part C organization may subsidize the enrollment fee for an endorsed discount card program, whether operated by the Part C organization or another endorsed sponsor, for individuals described in § 403.810(a), provided that any such benefit is reflected in the Part C organization's Adjusted Community Rate filing.
(b) Exclusive card sponsors.
(1) A Medicare managed care organization may elect to become an exclusive card sponsor by limiting enrollment in its endorsed discount card program to individuals described in § 403.810(a) who are enrolled in any of its Medicare managed care plans. The Medicare managed care organization must be the applicant for endorsement in order to offer an exclusive card program. Such an election must be made at the time of application for endorsement.
(3) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet or is exempt from certain specific requirements listed in § 403.806 as follows:
(i) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet the pharmacy network requirement in § 403.806(f)(3) if its pharmacy network is not limited to mail-order pharmacies and is equivalent to the pharmacy network used in its Medicare managed care plan and such pharmacy network has been approved by the Secretary, or, if its Medicare managed care plan does not use a pharmacy network, the Secretary determines that the pharmacy network provides sufficient access to covered discount card drugs at negotiated prices for discount card enrollees under the standard set forth under 42 CFR 422.112 for a Part C organization described in section 1851(a)(2)(A) of the Act, or under 42 CFR 417.416(e) for a Medicare cost plan.
(ii) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet the service area requirements in § 403.806(f)(1) and (f)(2) if it operates in a service area equivalent to its Medicare managed care plan's service area.
(iii) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet the requirement for financial stability and business integrity in § 403.806(b) through compliance with § 422.400 of this chapter (if a Part C organization described in section 1851(a)(2)(A) of the Act) or compliance with §§ 417.120 and 417.122 of this chapter (if a Medicare cost plan).
(iv) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet the covered lives requirement in § 403.806(a)(3).
(v) An exclusive card sponsor is deemed to meet the requirements of § 403.806(e)(2) if it ensures that transitional assistance funds are applied to, and only to, the cost to transitional assistance enrollees of any covered discount card drugs obtained from a network or mail order pharmacy included in the exclusive card sponsor's pharmacy network, and at the option of the exclusive card sponsor, any covered discount card drug obtained under an outpatient prescription drug benefit offered under the affiliated Medicare managed care plan, including any deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance, and other cost-sharing amounts for which transitional assistance enrollees are responsible under the Medicare managed care plan's outpatient prescription drug benefit.
(4) As the Secretary determines appropriate on a case-by-case basis, any additional requirements discussed in §§ 403.804 and 403.806, except for the requirements in §§ 403.812 and 403.813, may be waived or modified on behalf of an exclusive card sponsor if:
(i) The requirements are duplicative of or conflict with the requirements that a Medicare managed care organization must meet either under Part C or under section 1876 of Title XVIII of the Act; or
(ii) The waiver or modification is necessary to improve coordination between benefits under the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program and the benefits either under Part C or under section 1876 of Title XVIII of the Act.
(iii) The applicant seeking to become an exclusive card sponsor requests such waivers or modifications in writing in a manner required by the Secretary.
(5) An exclusive card sponsor may conduct group enrollment according to the following rules:
(i) The exclusive card sponsor must seek CMS verification that its Medicare managed care members are individuals described in § 403.810(a) and enroll such individuals as a group into its exclusive card program.
(ii) The exclusive card sponsor must give all individuals it is enrolling as a group the opportunity to decline enrollment, and the opportunity to apply for transitional assistance.
(iii) The exclusive card sponsor may use a modified version of the standard enrollment form described in § 403.806(g)(3) or other CMS-approved process for group enrollment in its endorsed discount card program.
(6) An individual enrolled in a Medicare managed care plan offered by a Medicare managed care organization offering an exclusive card program to individuals enrolled in such Medicare managed care plan is subject to the following requirements:
(i) The individual may enroll only in the endorsed discount card program offered by his or her Medicare managed care organization.
(ii) If the exclusive card sponsor group elects to group enroll into an exclusive card program members of the Medicare managed plan, the individual must actively decline enrollment to avoid enrollment in the exclusive card program.
(c) Non-uniformity of Benefits. Implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and Transitional Assistance Program, including the provision of transitional assistance and the payment or waiver of any enrollment fee by a Part C organization, will not be taken into account in applying the uniform premium and uniform benefits requirement in sections 1854(c) and 1854(f)(1)(D) of the Act and 42 CFR 422.100(d)(2) and 42 CFR 422.312(b)(2).