New October 15 Deadline for Medicare Part D Notices
Employers that offer prescription drug coverage to individuals who are eligible for Medicare are required to provide notices to those individuals about whether the employer's prescription drug coverage is "creditable" coverage or "non-creditable" coverage. Prescription drug coverage is creditable if it is expected to provide prescription drug benefits that are, on average, equivalent to the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. All other coverage (i.e., prescription drug coverage that is not expected to provide benefits that are at least equivalent to the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program) is non-creditable coverage. These designations affect whether individuals might be assessed a penalty by Medicare when they ultimately enroll in a Medicare Part D drug program. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides model creditable and non-creditable coverage disclosure notices on the CMS website that employers may use to satisfy these notice requirements.
The notices of creditable or non-creditable coverage must be provided to Medicare-eligible Part D participants each year before the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period begins. Prior to the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the annual Part D enrollment period occurred November 15 through December 31 of each year. PPACA accelerated this timeframe so that the annual enrollment period is now October 15 through December 7. This change is effective for Part D enrollment in 2012, which begins in the fall of 2011. Consequently, employers must provide creditable coverage notices this year by October 15, 2011.
The CMS posted updated creditable
model notices which incorporate the new dates for the annual enrollment period. The updated model notices are for use on and after April 1, 2011.
This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.