Sep 14, 2023Preparing Your Employees for Open Enrollment
For many, OE is just around the corner! If you're preparing your employees for Open Enrollment, view this helpful guide from our advocates.
Group health plan sponsors must provide Medicare Part D creditable coverage notices prior to October 15th, the start date of the Medicare annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug coverage). The enrollment period for Medicare Part D is October 15th – December 7th. The October 15th deadline for distributing the Notice applies for all group health plan sponsors that offer prescription drug benefits, regardless of plan year, plan size, employer size, grandfather status, or whether the plan is fully insured or self-funded.
The purpose of the disclosure is to inform Medicare beneficiaries of whether the employer’s drug coverage is expected to provide coverage comparable to the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Medicare-eligible employees should keep the creditable coverage notice for future reference. If a Medicare-eligible employee or dependent becomes eligible for Part D and decides not to enroll because he or she has employer-sponsored coverage, a creditable coverage notice allows them to enroll in Part D later without being charged a higher premium. For individuals enrolled in a non-creditable drug plan, failure to enroll in Part D when first eligible will result in higher premium if they enroll in Part D later.
There are different versions of the required disclosure depending on whether the group health plan the participant is enrolled in is considered creditable coverage or not.
If you offer Anthem group health coverage, click here to see a list of their plans and identify which version of the notice to send. Many plan sponsors customize the Model Medicare Part D Notices provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide plan participants with information specific to their situation.
The Notice of Creditable Coverage must be distributed to all individuals enrolled in an employer’s group health plan that fall within one of the following categories:
Since plan sponsors often do not know with certainty which of their Plan’s enrollees are eligible for Medicare, we recommend distributing the Part D Notice to all benefit-eligible employees. There is no penalty for distributing the Notice to a non-Medicare-eligible individual.
CMS provides model creditable coverage notices in their website here. Model notices are available in both English and Spanish. Morris & Garritano also offers models notices for clients use.
Employers can distribute these notices electronically to participants who have the ability to access electronic documents at their regular place of work as long as those participants have access to the electronic information system on a daily basis as part of their work duties (i.e. wired at work). Employers can distribute electronically under these circumstances without the participant’s consent. Participants must be informed, however, that they are responsible for providing a copy of the electronic notice to their Medicare-eligible dependents covered under the group health plan.
Employers are also required to notify CMS online annually that they have sent out these Part D notices. The notice to CMS is due within 60 days after the start of the plan year, or no later than March 1 for calendar year plans. Click here for the online CMS Disclosure site:https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/CreditableCoverage/CCDisclosureForm
Make note of the following time periods associated with the Medicare creditable coverage notice requirements:
In today’s world of employee benefits, staying compliant with ever-evolving laws, rules and regulations is a constant challenge. Well-versed in both federal and state legislation as well as the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, our expert advisors have a deep knowledge of employee benefits and a detailed understanding of healthcare laws, regulations, and standards. Contact Morris & Garritano today for a complimentary compliance assessment.
This information is general and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice. You should not act on this information without consulting legal counsel or other knowledgeable advisors.