Prescription Drug Coverage and Medicare

October 2015

This information can help you decide if you want to join a Medicare drug plan. Medicare prescription coverage is available to everyone with Medicare and gained by joining a Medicare prescription plan or Medicare advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO) offering prescription coverage. All Medicare prescription plans provide a standard level of coverage. Some offer more for a higher monthly premium.

EMU's plan offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield is considered creditable in that it pays out, on average, as much as standard Medicare coverage. Because of this, you can keep this coverage and not pay a higher, penalty premium if you decide to join a Medicare drug plan later.

You can join a Medicare drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare and each year between October 15–December 7. If you lose your creditable coverage, through no fault of your own, you'll be eligible for a two-month special enrollment period.

If you join a Medicare plan, your current coverage won't be affected. But, if you drop your EMU coverage, you won't be able to get EMU coverage back until the next open enrollment period (typically October). If you drop or lose your coverage with EMU and don't join a Medicare drug plan within 63 days, you may pay a higher premium to join a Medicare drug plan later. Your monthly premium may go up by at least 1% of the Medicare base beneficiary premium per month for every month you didn't coverage.

For example, if you go 19 months without creditable coverage, your premium may be at least 19% higher as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage and you might have to wait until the following October to join.

For more information on your current coverage, contact the Benefits Office at 734.487.3195.  

For more information about Medicare, visit the Medicare site. For personalized help, call the Michigan health insurance assistance program at 877.999.6442.

If you have limited income, extra help for Medicare prescription drug coverage is available. Visit the Social Security site or call 800.772.1213.