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Oct 2007
22
October 22, 2007

Have You Distributed Your Medicare Part D Notices Yet?

Just a quick reminder that it's time once again to distribute the annual notice of whether the prescription drug coverage offered under your health plan constitutes creditable or noncreditable coverage. Once again, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued updated guidance on the notice of creditable coverage.

Employers who sponsor a health plan offering prescription drug benefits must provide an annual notice to all Medicare-eligible participants that explains whether the prescription drug benefits offered under the plan are at least as good as the benefits offered under the Medicare Part D plan. The only employers exempt from this notice requirement are those that establish their own Part D plan or who contract with a Part D plan.

This year, CMS has updated the model personalized notice form and also provides Spanish versions of its forms. If you used one of the generic "individual notice" forms last year, you should be able to use that form again this year (updated to reflect the current date and, if necessary, contact information). The most recent guidance and forms are available on the CMS Creditable Coverage Web site (http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CreditableCoverage). As of 3 p.m., 10/22/07, the CMS Web site isn't functioning. Please use the links below to retrieve the forms:

The notice must be provided:

  • At least once a year before Nov. 15 (the start of the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period).
  • Whenever a Medicare-eligible employee enrolls in your health plan.
  • Whenever there is a change in the creditable or non-creditable status of your health plan's prescription drug coverage.
  • Whenever an individual requests the notice.

Because it is difficult to keep track of which employees (and their spouses or dependents) are eligible for Medicare benefits, we recommend that you make the Notice a part of your new-hire enrollment materials and your annual open enrollment materials.

If you have any questions about which notification forms to use or how to modify them, please contact a member of our Employee Benefits Practice Group.



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