Welfare Notes - April 2011

April, 2011

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 a higher premium amount for your lifetime and, if married, that of your spouse, 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.

There are three types of Medicare coverage:

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 Medicare Part A.

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 monthly premium payment and, for those who are married, a separate premium is required for your spouse upon reaching age 65. There is a permanent penalty for late enrollment.

Medicare Part D coverage includes prescription drugs, insulin supplies, and some vaccines. Enrollment in Medicare Part D requires a premium and penalties apply for late enrollment. There are a large number of Plan D options from which to choose.
If an active participant age 65 or over loses coverage for any reason including insufficient work time to continue coverage, the participant should enroll in Medicare Part A and B coverage as soon as possible. You may ask the Plan office for help in filling out forms that may be required.

Active coverage terminates on the date of your retirement. A dependent wife who is not at Medicare age can continue coverage with the SUP Welfare Plan through COBRA for up to 18 months. If you have questions, please call.

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