Please read this notice carefully and keep it where you can find it. This notice has information about your current prescription drug coverage with McLeod 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.
- McLeod has determined that the prescription drug coverage offered by the McLeod Medical Plans are, 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 October 15th to December 7th. However, if you lose your current creditable prescription drug coverage, through no fault of your own, you will also be eligible for a two-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 McLeod coverage will not be affected. If you join a Medicare drug plan and drop your current medical coverage with McLeod, be aware that you or your dependents will not be able to get this coverage back until the next Annual Enrollment period. Note that your current coverage pays for other health expenses, in addition to prescription drugs, and you will still be eligible to receive all of your current health and prescription drug benefits if you choose to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan and keep your coverage under a McLeod plan.
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 McLeod and do not 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 19 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 October to join.
Summary Of Options For Medicare Eligible Employees And/Or Dependents
Medical and prescription drug coverage are offered as a package under the McLeod Medical Plans (you cannot elect medical coverage without prescription drug coverage).
- Continue medical and prescription drug coverage under a McLeod benefit plan and do not elect Medicare D coverage. Impact: Your claims continue to be paid by McLeod.
- Continue medical and prescription drug coverage under a McLeod benefit plan and elect Medicare D coverage. Impact: As an active employee (or dependent of an active employee), McLeod continues to pay primary on your claims (pays before Medicare D).
- Drop medical coverage through McLeod and elect Medicare Part D coverage. Impact: Medicare is your primary coverage. You will not be able to rejoin a McLeod benefit plan unless you experience a qualifying life/work event change or until the next Annual Enrollment period.
For More Information About This Notice Or Your Current Prescription Drug Coverage
Contact the HR Service Center at 843-777-2595. NOTE: You will 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 McLeod changes. You also may request a copy of this notice at any time.
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 will 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 go to www.medicare.gov. Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see the inside back cover of your copy of the “Medicare & You” handbook for the telephone number) for personalized help or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). TTY users should call 877-486-2048.
If you have limited 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 800-772-1213 (TTY 800.325.0778).