Announcements & Features: Medicare Part D
May 16, 2006
U-M Benefits Office Bottom-Line Recommendation on Medicare Part D:
Do Not Enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan, unless you apply for and are approved for Medicare low-income prescription drug assistance!
Beginning in 2006, Medicare began offering outpatient prescription drug coverage called Medicare Part D to everyone with Medicare through Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage Plans that offer prescription drug coverage. Individuals may enroll in a Part D Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan when they first become eligible for Medicare. They may also enroll each year from November 15th through December 31st for coverage effective the subsequent January 1st. After careful review of the new Medicare Part D Plan, the University of Michigan strongly urges Medicare-eligible active employees (and their dependents enrolled in the U-M plan) NOT to enroll in Medicare Part D plan. You do not have to do anything in order to retain your current prescription drug coverage in the University of Michigan plan.
The university advises that Medicare-eligible retirees and survivors as well as any Medicare-eligible faculty/staff on long-term-disability status (and their Medicare-eligible dependents enrolled in the U-M-plan) that think they may be eligible for Medicare low-income prescription drug financial assistance contact the social security administration to determine if they should apply for low-income assistance and enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan, and continue their university health insurance plan. All others should not enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan.
We believe that for most people, it is to their financial advantage to remain in the University of Michigan prescription drug program and not sign up for Part D. The university’s prescription drug plan is more comprehensive than Medicare Part D. Also, it will have lower out-of-pocket expenses than the Part D Plan for individuals with the possible exception of those that meet the Medicare criteria of “low income” with limited assets. For those individuals that are approved for Medicare low-income prescription drug assistance, the university recommends that only after they are approved, they enroll in a standard Medicare Part D Plan and also continue their university health insurance coverage.
If you do not enroll in Medicare Part D and continue your enrollment in the university’s health insurance plan (which includes both medical and prescription drug coverage), you will retain your ability to enroll in Medicare Part D in subsequent years without incurring any financial penalty.
For questions about Medicare Part D, you can visit the Medicare website at http://www.medicare.gov/medicarereform/ or the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicarereform/drugcoveragefaqs.asp
For information and applications for Medicare low-income prescription drug assistance, visit a local Social Security office, or contact the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
For information about Medicare Part D plans offered in your area, go to www.medicare.gov.