If you have prescription drug coverage from your former employer, Will you be able to keep it or will Medicare prescription drug coverage replace it?
If you have prescription drug coverage from your former employer, Will you be able to keep it or will Medicare prescription drug coverage replace it??
Joining a Medicare drug plan is your choice. You arenít required to join a Medicare plan, and you should not join until you are sure how it would have an effect on your retiree coverage. In some cases, if you join a Medicare drug plan, you could lose your retiree health coverage as well as your prescription drug coverage. On the other hand, in many cases your retiree plan will work with Medicare to provide your prescription drug coverage.
For instance, an employer or union may want its retirees to join a Medicare drug plan, and then the employer or union will make available additional coverage to supplement the Medicare drug plan. (This is similar to the way that employers and unions often provide health coverage to supplement Medicare doctor and hospital benefits.) Some employers and unions will make special arrangements with a particular Medicare drug plan, while others will provide coverage that supplements any Medicare drug plan their retirees prefer. The total amount of drug coverage from Medicare plus this employer or union supplement may be as good as or better than the drug coverage formerly provided by the employer or union alone.
Your employer (or the plan that administers your retiree drug coverage) should be sending you details about how your retiree health or drug coverage will be affected if you join a Medicare plan. This information will also tell you how your retiree drug coverage contrasts to the new Medicare prescription drug coverage.
If your retiree drug coverage will stay the same, and the coverage is as good as Medicare coverage, you can stay with your present coverage now, and you wonít have to pay a penalty if you later decide to switch to Medicare drug coverage. However, if you qualify for extra help to pay for Medicare drug coverage, it is possible that you could get better coverage if you join a Medicare drug plan.
Study the information from your retiree plan cautiously. It will help you understand your alternatives. It should also tell you how to get in touch with the plan if you have questions. If there is no information on whom to contact, contact your benefits administrator or the office that can answer questions about your coverage.
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