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Medicare Part D Changes for 2006/07
November 1, 2006

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched the information campaign My Health. My Medicare. (www.cms.hhs.gov/MyHealthMyMedicare) to assist Medicare beneficiaries in understanding options and enrolling in the appropriate plans to meet health care and prescription drug needs. The enrollment period is November 15 – December 31. CMS suggests enrollment by December 8 to avoid delays in coverage. Links to drug plan options and the Medicare and You Handbook are available on the CMS web site (www.cms.hhs.gov). Information about help for persons with limited resources is available through additional links on the web site (www.cms.hhs.gov/limitedincomeandresources).

Persons satisfied with their coverage do not need to re-enroll in order to continue with the same plan. Individuals should check for plan changes, including costs and formularies, for the coming year in order to make an informed decision on plan choice. An MLN Matters article (www.cms.hhs.gov/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE0668.pdf) addresses changes in qualification for Low Income Subsidy (LIS) and provides links to additional information. Those who no longer automatically qualified for LIS were notified in September and sent an application to reapply. Medicare will also notify those whose situation changes in the coming months that they qualify for LIS. Additionally, Medicare will notify those who continue to automatically qualify, but whose co-payment levels will change as of January 1, 2007. If a beneficiary believes that the Social Security Administration has erred in its determination of eligibility, he or she has the right to appeal. The notification letter contains information about appeal rights.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Outreach Toolkit is available to download or to order from the CMS web site (www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalMedicareTrainProg/08_Medicare%20Prescription%20Drug%20Coverage%20Outreach%20Tooklit.asp). This toolkit provides resources for community groups to enable outreach and assistance to their constituencies about Medicare drug coverage. Presentation notes that accompanied an October 26 teleconference, Countdown to November 15: Part D Current Topics, is available. The teleconference was recorded and will be available on the CMS National Medicare Training Program web site (www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalMedicareTrainProg/Webcasts/list.asp).

Please contact Betty Simmonds at PCPA with questions.

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