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Each year, Medicare Part D requires group health plan sponsors to disclose to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether the health plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable. Plan sponsors must provide the annual disclosure notice to Medicare-eligible individuals before Oct. 15, 2017—the start date of the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D. CMS has provided model disclosure notices for employers to use.
This notice is important because Medicare beneficiaries who are not covered by creditable prescription drug coverage and who choose not to enroll in Medicare Part D when first eligible will likely pay higher premiums if they enroll at a later date. Although there are no specific penalties associated with this notice requirement, failing to provide the notice may trigger adverse employee relations issues.
Employers should confirm whether their health plans’ prescription drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable and prepare to send their Medicare Part D disclosure notices by Oct. 14, 2017. To make the process easier, employers who send out open enrollment packets prior to Oct. 15 often include the Medicare Part D notices in these packets.
CMS has provided two model notices for employers to use. One is a Model Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice for when the health plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable and another for when it is not creditable.
Method of Delivering Notices
Plan sponsors have flexibility in how they must provide their creditable coverage disclosure notices. The disclosure notices can be provided separately, or if certain conditions are met, they can be provided with other plan participant materials, like annual open enrollment materials. The notices can also be sent electronically in some instances.
For more information on Medicare Part D notices, please contact your GBS Benefits, Inc. representative.
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