Welfare Notes - January 2012

January, 2012

Medicare for Active and Retired Participants

Medicare does not send official notices when you become eligible for Medicare coverage. To avoid penalties that will require you to pay an additional amount forever, you must enroll when you first become eligible for Medicare. Your initial enrollment period lasts seven months including the 3 months before you become 65 years old and the 3 months after your birthday. As an example if your birthday is in June your enrollment period is March 1 through September 30.

Medicare Part A helps pay the cost of a hospital admission, stay in a skilled nursing facility, home health care, hospice care, and medicines administered to inpatients. There is no premium payment required for enrollment in Part A so active SUP participants should enroll in Medicare Part A when they become eligible.

Medicare Part B provides coverage for physicians including doctor visits in the office and hospital, outpatient services, rehab therapy, lab tests, medical equipment, and most medicines administered in a doctor's office. Enrollment in Medicare Part B requires a premium payment. Active SUP participants who are enrolled in a health plan probably do not need to enroll in Part B because the copayments for most services will likely be less than the monthly Part B premium amount.

If an active participant loses his active coverage because of any reason including insufficient work time to continue coverage, he should enroll for Medicare Part B coverage as soon as possible. The Plan office will help in filling out forms you may need to complete for Part B. There is a permanent penalty amount for Part B premiums if you do not enroll when you first become eligible.

Medicare Part D coverage includes prescription drugs, insulin supplies, and some vaccines. Part D enrollment includes a required premium and penalties are applied for late enrollment. There are a large number of Plan D options that will require you to choose the best one for you.
Active coverage terminates on the date of your retirement. Medicare does not cover dependents. A dependent wife who is not at Medicare age can continue coverage with the SUP Welfare Plan through COBRA for up to 18 months. COBRA coverage is approximately $600.00 to $900.00 per month. If you have questions contact us.

Michelle Chang, Administrator  
Patty Martin  
Virginia Briggs, Claims   
Michael Jacyna, Eligibility