Fifteen years ago Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003 implementing prescription drug coverage under Medicare, commonly known as Part D. It required all employers that offer prescription drug benefits to provide an annual notice to all Medicare-eligible plan participants and qualified beneficiaries before October 15th of each year, the start of the Medicare open enrollment period, which runs through December 7th. Well, it is that time of year again!
Who gets notified?
According to Kin Chan, a consultant at Buck, “The notice obligation is not limited to retirees and their dependents covered by the employers’ plan, but also includes Medicare-eligible active employees and their dependents and Medicare-eligible COBRA participants and their dependents.” Consultant Gary Kushner said that “The notice requirement applies to all employers who offer prescription drug coverage, regardless of size, whether insured or self-funded or ACA grandfathered status. It also applies whether the prescription drug coverage is standalone or integrated into another plan, such as a medical plan.”
As you can see from Kushner’s statements this applies to many, many employers who may not have been in business in 2003 when this law was enacted.
Your healthcare insurance provider or insurance broker should have information for you, but if you are reading this and are unaware then you need to read these two articles.
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: MEDICARE PART D NOTICES TO PARTICIPANTS DUE by Gary Kushner
Oct. 15 Deadline Nears for Medicare Part D Coverage Notices By Kin Chan and Richard Stover
You can also refer to the Medicare.gov website for further information.
This is a legal compliance issue that could easily be overlooked by new companies or new HR professionals. Don’t get yourself in a legal bind.