Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notice

Background
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 requires group health plans that provide prescription drug coverage to disclose to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D whether the plan’s coverage is “creditable,” i.e., whether it is at least actuarially equivalent to the Medicare Part D coverage. Importantly, individuals who do not enroll in Medicare Part D when first eligible and who have gone 63 days or longer without creditable coverage generally will have to pay higher premiums permanently if they subsequently enroll. Thus individuals need to know the status of their coverage in order to make an informed decision about enrolling in Part D.

Notice
This notice applies to you if you are eligible for Medicare. Please read this notice carefully and keep it where you can find it. This notice has information about your current prescription drug coverage with Maricopa County and about your options under Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. This information can help you decide whether or not you want to join a Medicare drug plan. If you are considering joining, you should compare your current coverage, including which drugs are covered at what cost, with the coverage and costs of the plans offering Medicare prescription drug coverage in your area. Information about where you can get help to make decisions about your prescription drug coverage is at the end of this notice.

There are two important things you need to know about your current coverage and Medicare’s prescription drug coverage:

  • Medicare prescription drug coverage became available in 2006 to everyone with Medicare. You can get this coverage if you join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or join a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) that offers prescription drug coverage. All Medicare drug plans provide at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare. Some plans may also offer more coverage for a higher monthly premium.
  • Maricopa County has determined that the prescription drug coverage offered by the Employee Benefit Plan is, on average for all plan participants, expected to pay out as much as standard Medicare prescription drug coverage pays and is therefore considered Creditable Coverage. Because your existing coverage is Creditable Coverage, you can keep this coverage and not pay a higher premium (a penalty) if you later decide to join a Medicare drug plan.

When Can You Join A Medicare Drug Plan?
You can join a Medicare drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare and each year from November 15th through December 31st.
However, if you lose your current creditable prescription drug coverage, through no fault of your own, you will be eligible for a two (2) month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to join a Medicare drug plan.

What Happens To Your Current Coverage If You Decide To Join A Medicare Drug Plan?
If you decide to join a Medicare drug plan, your current Maricopa County coverage will not be affected. Your current coverage will be primary over the Medicare drug plan.
If you do decide to join a Medicare drug plan, you will not be able to drop your current Maricopa County prescription coverage until the next Open Enrollment period that would be effective July 1, 2015. If you drop your current Maricopa County prescription coverage, you must also drop your medical and behavioral health coverage.

When Will You Pay A Higher Premium (Penalty) To Join A Medicare Drug Plan?
You should also know that if you drop or lose your current coverage with Maricopa County and don’t join a Medicare drug plan within 63 continuous days after your current coverage ends, you may pay a higher premium (a penalty) to join a Medicare drug plan later.
If you go 63 continuous days or longer without creditable prescription drug coverage, your monthly premium may go up by at least 1% of the Medicare base beneficiary premium per month for every month that you did not have that coverage. For example, if you go nineteen months without creditable coverage, your premium may consistently be at least 19% higher than the Medicare base beneficiary premium. You may have to pay this higher premium (a penalty) as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. In addition, you may have to wait until the following November to join.

For More Information About This Notice Or Your Current Prescription Drug Coverage, Refer to the Contact Information Located At The End Of This Notice
NOTE: You’ll get this notice each year. You will also get it before the next period you can join a Medicare drug plan, and if this coverage through Maricopa County changes. You also may request a copy of this notice at any time.

For More Information About Your Options Under Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
More detailed information about Medicare plans that offer prescription drug coverage is in the “Medicare & You” handbook. You’ll get a copy of the handbook in the mail every year from Medicare. You may also be contacted directly by Medicare drug plans.
For more information about Medicare prescription drug coverage:

  • Visit www.medicare.gov
  • Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see the inside back cover of your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook for their telephone number) for personalized help
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

If you have limited income and resources, extra help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage is available. For information about this extra help, visit Social Security on the web at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call them at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Remember: Keep this Creditable Coverage notice. If you decide to join one of the Medicare drug plans, you may be required to provide a copy of this notice when you join to show whether or not you have maintained creditable coverage and, therefore, whether or not you are required to pay a higher premium (a penalty).

    Name of Entity/Sender:

    Maricopa County Department of Employee Benefits and Health

    Contact:

    Employee Benefits

    Address:

    301 West Jefferson Street, Suite 3200, Phoenix, AZ 85003

    Phone Number:

    (602) 506-1010