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Free Program on Medicare Prescription Coverage at Hospital

New Britain [October 28 2005] - New Britain General Hospital is hosting a program to help explain new Medicare prescription coverage, “Medicare Part D: Who Pays First?” The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Nov. 18 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The program is being co-sponsored by Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging and the VNA of Central Connecticut.

Eric Rodko, regional manager of CHOICES, part of the North Central Area Agency on Aging, will present information on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D) and how it will work with other types of health insurance plans and/or prescription drug coverage.

The open enrollment period for enrolling in a new Medicare Part D Prescription Plan begins Nov. 15, 2005 and ends on May 1, 2006.

Medicare Part D is being called a voluntary benefit option for seniors; however, there are a number of important issues to understand.

  • Medicare beneficiaries who currently receive prescription drug coverage through ConnPACE and/or Medicaid (Title 19) will be automatically enrolled into one of the Medicare Part D plans as of Jan. 1, 2006, if a person does not choose a Part D plan for themselves by the end of 2005;

  • Medicare beneficiaries who currently receive prescription drug coverage through a group employer health plan may also have to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan by May 15, 2006, depending on whether or not the plan qualifies as “creditable” coverage (i.e. drug coverage that is equal to or “better than” Medicare Part D coverage);

  • Medicare beneficiaries who currently receive prescription drug coverage under Medigap policies H, I or J will have to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan by May 15.

In other words, Medicare Part D will become the primary payer for prescription drugs in many situations, except for veterans (i.e. the VA and TriCare) and persons with “creditable” prescription coverage through a group health plan or Medicare HMO (i.e. HealthNet).

Medicare beneficiaries who do not have “creditable” prescription coverage and fail to enroll in a Part D plan by May 15, 2006, may be financially penalized should they choose to enroll into a Medicare Part D plan after May 2006.

Seniors and anyone participating in their healthcare decisions should understand these new rules to make proper and timely decision regarding Medicare Part D.

The program will be held in Lecture Rooms 1 and 2, and light refreshments will be available. Attendance to this session is free but prior registration is requested since seating capacity is limited. To register for this free program, please call the Hospital’s office of health promotions at 860-224-5433.

Contact: Corporate Communications, 860-224-5900 x6507

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779