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The following Notice is provided as a courtesy concerning the availability of prescription drug coverage for eligible participants in the OP&F-sponsored health care plan. The actual required Notice of Creditable Prescription Drug Coverage appears in the Members Guide to Health Care Benefits 2006, and in the September edition of the Member�s Report newsletter.
The new Medicare prescription drug program, which is known as Medicare Part D, will begin Jan. 1, 2006. Under the new program, OP&F is required to notify benefit recipients that the drug coverage under the OP&F�sponsored health care plan is �creditable� and that OP&F will continue to offer eligible members and their dependents prescription drug coverage in 2006.
Prescription drug coverage provided by a plan like the OP&F�sponsored plan is �creditable� if, on average for all participants, the plan is expected to pay out at least as much as the standard Medicare Part D coverage would pay. OP&F�s actuarial consultant has verified that the coverage under the OP&F�sponsored plan is creditable.
It is important for individuals to have either Medicare Part D coverage or plan�provided creditable drug coverage, such as prescription drug coverage sponsored by OP&F, since a penalty applies to people who enroll late in Medicare Part D or who go without Medicare Part D or creditable coverage for 63 or more days. People who are now eligible for Medicare Part D have until May 15, 2006, to enroll in Medicare Part D, unless they are in a creditable coverage plan. People who are now in a creditable coverage plan, but who later lose or drop that coverage, also will pay a penalty if they do not enroll in Medicare Part D or another creditable coverage plan within 63 days after their drug coverage ends. If the penalty applies, your monthly premium under Medicare Part D will go up at least 1 percent per month for every month after May 15, 2006, that you did not have either Medicare Part D or creditable coverage. You also may have to wait until the next open enrollment period (Nov. 15 � Dec. 31) to enroll.
If your income is limited (less than $14,355 if you are single or $19,245 if you are married), extra help paying for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is available. For more information about this extra help, contact the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov or call them at 800�772�1231 (TTY 800�325�0778).
Because the OP&F coverage is creditable, in most situations you do not need to purchase Medicare Part D coverage as well. If you do purchase Medicare Part D, you will lose your prescription drug coverage under the OP&F�sponsored plan. You will have the right to re�enroll in the OP&F�sponsored plan in 2006 only and will have limited rights to re�enroll in 2007.
You will receive a creditable coverage notice each year. You will receive a new notice if the OP&F coverage is changed so that it is no longer creditable. You may request a copy of this notice at any time by calling OP&F�s Customer Service at 800�860�9599. Please do not discard this notice, as you may need it as proof of creditable coverage.