On October 9, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would make numerous changes to the requirements for sponsors of Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D drug plans intended to strengthen beneficiary protections, improve plan payment rules, and clarify various program participation requirements. Among many other things, the rule would: enhance CMS’s ability to identify and approve qualified drug and health plans and remove consistently-poor performers; clarify plan requirements relating to beneficiary cost-sharing; eliminate duplication in drug and health plan bids submitted by the same organization by requiring a meaningful difference between an organization’s product offerings; expand the collection of prescription drug event data elements; clarify Part D protected drug categories and classes; and make other refinements and technical changes to the Part C and Part D regulations. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until December 8, 2009. The official version of the rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on October 22, 2009. CMS also has released information on 2010 Medicare Part D and MA plan options and premium and copayment amounts.