By Robert Ellerbrock, Constangy Brooks & Smith LLP
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) shifted the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D a month earlier to October 15 through December 7. Prior to the change, annual enrollment began on November 15.
As the Medicare annual period change is effective for the 2012 Part D enrollment, which takes place in Fall 2011, plan sponsors must prepare to provide the Notice earlier in 2011 and, of course, prior to October 15.
Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicate Services (CMS) provides that plans must provide Notices of Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage at the following times:
• Prior to the Medicare annual enrollment period (which the PPACA moved up a month earlier).
• Prior to an individual’s initial opportunity to enroll in Part D.
• Prior to the effective date of coverage for any Medicare-eligible individual that joins the plan.
• When the plan’s prescription drug coverage changes (i.e., ends, is no longer creditable or becomes creditable).
• On request by an individual.
Plan sponsors should determine if they must modify their Notices to reflect the PPACA change.
Robert Ellerbrock is a member of law firm Constangy Brooks & Smith LLP's employee benefits practice group. He specializes in the areas of ERISA fiduciary duties, benefit plan drafting and revision and plan compliance issues. This article is adapted from a post that originally appeared on the firm's Employee Benefits Unplugged blog. Reposted with permission.
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