Welfare Notes - December 2004

December, 2004

Medicare Part B covers Medicare eligible physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, and durable medical equipment. The Medicare Part B premium is increasing to $78.20 per month effective January 2005.

The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B starts 3 months before you turn age 65 and lasts for 7 months. If you do not sign up for Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you must wait until the General Enrollment Period to enroll. The General Enrollment Period is between January 1 and March 31 each year.

If you sign up for Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period, coverage starts on July 1 of that year. The cost of the Medicare Part B premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Medicare Part B, but did not take it.

Members with coverage as active employees can delay enrolling for Medicare Part B without paying higher premiums as long as they enroll during their Special Enrollment Period. You should contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for enrollment information.

If you have a home computer or know someone who does, the Medicare’s Internet web site (www.medicare.gov) is an excellent source for information. It includes up to date information on everything related to Medicare including 16 pages of frequently asked questions, health care tips, available publications, and much more.

The payment for the Medicare Part B premium is reimbursed to eligible pensioners on their pension checks. The amount reimbursed on the pension check is deducted from the SUP Welfare Plan’s Annual Pensioner’s Allowance. The SUP Welfare Plan also makes reimbursement to eligible Surviving Spouses for their payments for Medicare Part B premiums. If you have any questions about your reimbursement, please contact the Plan office.

The Plan office also wants to recommend to those pensioners eligible to receive the Annual Pensioners Allowance that it is best to submit claims in a timely manner. To avoid the possibility of misplacing bills and lessen your wait for payment, you may want to submit your claims as you incur charges.

Best Wishes from All of Us for a Joyous Holiday Season!