Medicare Weekly News for November 1, 2005
Keep All Mail on Medicare’s Prescription Drug Benefit
Important Documents Being Sent
In the coming weeks, people in Medicare will continue receiving letters and information in the mail
about Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. Beneficiaries should keep all the mail they receive
pertaining to the coverage, recommends the Medicare Rx Education Network. Some of the mail
may be official documents about present drug coverage or low-income assistance and should be
Mail beneficiaries may receive includes:
Medicare & You 2006 handbook from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The Medicare & You 2006 handbooks are state specific and include a list of the
Medicare-approved prescription drug plans available in the beneficiary’s state. The handbooks
also explain the coverage and how to enroll in a plan. Extra handbooks can be ordered by
calling CMS at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or they can be downloaded from the CMS
Web site at
• Letter from employer, union or Medigap:
Those currently getting prescription drug
coverage through a former employer, union or Medigap, will receive a letter from that plan that
states whether the drug coverage is, on average, at least as good as (“creditable coverage”)
Medicare’s “standard” prescription drug coverage. The comparison will simplify the enrollment
decision. Those who have not received this letter, or believe they have misplaced it should
contact their existing prescription drug plan provider in writing to request a new letter, or to ask
if the letter has been sent out. This letter should be kept in the beneficiary’s permanent files.
• Low-income assistance form:
The Social Security Administration has sent out letters, along
with application forms, to people in Medicare who the agency thought might possibly qualify for
low-income assistance. Beneficiaries can obtain a form from the Social Security Administration
by calling 1-800-772-1213 or at their local Social Security office. Beneficiaries can also go to
their local library and ask a librarian to help them take the form off the Social Security Web site
at www.socialsecurity.gov. Representatives from the local Social Security office can help
locate any missing information and answer any questions. To find a local Social Security office,
call Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116).
• Notification of eligibility for low-income assistance.
The Social Security Administration has
begun sending out letters to those who applied for low-income assistance with the drug benefit
notifying them if they qualified. This letter should be kept in the beneficiary’s permanent files.
• Marketing Materials:
Medicare prescription drug plan providers are sending marketing
materials and information about their plans.
The Medicare prescription drug benefit’s six-month open-enrollment window is November 15 –
May 15, 2006. Beneficiaries should keep all the mail they receive about the drug benefit in one
convenient place so it is readily available when they sit down to consider selecting a plan or speak
with a counselor.
The Medicare Rx Education Network provides information and assistance with outreach and enrollment for the new
Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The network, which includes 70 national organizations, is chaired by former
U.S. Senator John Breaux. Members share an interest in educating Medicare beneficiaries about the new Medicare
prescription drug benefit and work closely with the appropriate federal agencies to obtain up-to-date information to
ensure that information disseminated by the network about Medicare Part D is factual and accurately conveyed,
thereby pre-empting confusion about the benefit and equipping beneficiaries and their caregivers to make informed
choices. By sharing information with each other about member organizations’ independent efforts, collaborating on
activities, and identifying ways to work together, the network aims to eliminate duplication of efforts and maximize the
effectiveness of outreach efforts. The network does not engage in legislative activities or take positions on pending
legislative or administrative policies related to the Part D benefit and its implementation.