Medicare deadline flexible for patients with 'creditable coverage'

Author: Carrie Morantz
Date: Oct 15, 2005

Under Medicare Part D regulations, most Medicare-eligible patients must enroll in a Part D prescription plan by May 15, 2006, or face an increase in premiums of 1 percent per month for every month they are eligible but not enrolled. However, Medicare-eligible patients are not required to enroll in the prescription program if they have "creditable coverage" under another health plan, according to Jamie Tyler, a Medicare counselor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The caveat allows disabled patients to postpone enrolling in Part D until they retire. With its focus on elderly patients, much of the Medicare Part D education effort focuses on persons who qualify for Medicare because of their age. However, young disabled persons also receive Medicare benefits as secondary coverage to their employer-sponsored plans. Others may be covered through insurance held by their spouse or parents. As a result, they may not plan to enroll in Part D for several years.

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