Welfare Notes - November 2005

November, 2005

Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Program) 
This notice applies to those eligible for Medicare or those who will become eligible for Medicare.

As you may have heard, all people with Medicare will be eligible for a new prescription drug program under Medicare Part D, which goes into effect January 1, 2006. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) are working together to communicate the program to people with Medicare.

IF YOU ARE ENROLLED FOR SUP WELFARE PLAN PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS AND YOU ARE AN ACTIVE EMPLOYEE OR DEPENDENT OF AN ACTIVE EMPLOYEE AND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE DUE TO DISABILITY, your coverage in the current prescription drug plan provided through the SUP Welfare Plan will NOT change. There are no added benefits to you for enrolling in Medicare Part D while you are eligible for the Plan’s medical and prescription drug programs.


You do NOT need to enroll in Medicare Part D. It is not to your advantage to enroll and if you or your dependent does enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you will not be reimbursed for the required premiums.

The prescription drug benefits you currently receive under the SUP Welfare Plan provide better coverage than the new drug program under Medicare.

As long as you are eligible to have prescription drug coverage as an active employee, a dependent of an active employee through the SUP Welfare Plan, you are considered to have “creditable coverage”. Therefore, if at some later date you choose to enroll in Medicare Part D, you will not be charged a late penalty for delayed enrollment When you retire, you will receive another notice from the Plan Office which includes more information on Medicare Part D. Upon retirement, former employees and family members may be eligible for Pensioner health and welfare benefits through the Trust. Your Trust medical and prescription drug coverage provided through an HMO or the ULLICO PPO Plan terminates when you lose active plan coverage. You may be eligible for coverage as a Pensioner.

For more information on Medicare Part D:
More detail will be in the handbook “Medicare & You 2006” that is currently being mailed to Medicare eligibles. Medicare eligibles may also be contacted directly by Medicare-approved Part D providers. At any time you can visit http://www.medicare.gov/ or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Every state has a Health Insurance Assistance Program to help Medicare beneficiaries and their families with their health insurance choices and with problems that might arise. In California it is called either the “Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program” (HICAP) or “Department of Aging” and can be reached at 1-916-419-7500. To see the Part D information collected by the California program, visit http://www.aging.ca.gov/ and click the button for “Medicare Rx”. Contact information for similar programs in other states will be listed in your “Medicare & You 2006” handbook.

For people with limited income and resources, extra help paying for a Medicare prescription drug plan is available. For more information about this extra help, visit the Social Security Administration website at or call them at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.