No, only retirees who are
Medicare-eligible and enrolled in the retiree prescription drug coverage are
losing this coverage on January 1, 2019.
Non-Medicare eligible retirees will continue to be eligible for the same
retiree prescription coverage in which they are currently enrolled.
If your spouse and/or children are Medicare-eligible, they too will lose prescription coverage on January 1, 2019. However, if they are not yet Medicare-eligible they may remain covered under the State prescription plan until they either become eligible for Medicare due to reaching age 65 or due to disability, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of the plan.
You will pay for your dependent’s prescription coverage the same way you are now. If the premium is deducted from your pension check, it will continue to be paid that way. If you pay for your prescription coverage using a coupon (mailed to you by the Employee Benefits Division) you will continue to pay that way. The rates will be provided in your Open Enrollment packet that will be mailed to your home in late September.
No, the only plan that is ending is the Employer Group Waiver Plan (EGWP) through CVS Caremark’s Silver Script program. This is the retiree prescription plan that you are currently enrolled in that wraps around the standard Medicare Part D plan.
In 2011, the Maryland General Assembly passed pension reform legislation (House Bill 72 - 2011 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act) that included the end of prescription drug coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees as of July 1, 2019. The July 1, 2019 date was selected because the federal government was to close the coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole,” in Medicare Part D plans around that time. By waiting until the coverage gap was reduced, retirees would not have to pay the high costs for medications that currently exists in the coverage gap.
The U.S. Congress, in the recently passed federal budget, moved up the date for the reduction of the coverage gap to January 1, 2019, earlier than previously planned.
That federal action prompted the Maryland General Assembly on March 27, 2018 to amend and pass legislation (SB 187 – 2018 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act) that then moved up the end of State prescription drug coverage for its Medicare-eligible retirees to coincide with the new date of January 1, 2019.
Yes, you can enroll in Medicare Part D earlier than January 1, 2019, but you will have to be disenrolled from the State plan at that time – you cannot be enrolled in two Medicare Part D plans at the same time. Additionally, if you disenroll from the State plan, any enrolled dependents will also be disenrolled and would have to re-enroll during the State’s Open Enrollment (held in the fall) to have coverage again under the State plan on January 1, 2019.
EGWP is the Employer Group Waiver Plan implemented in 2014 under Program benefits. It is the State retiree drug plan wrapped around the Standard Medicare Part D plan. This plan is ending December 31, 2018.
Medicare Part D is the outpatient prescription drug coverage for Medicare eligible individuals. It is purchased separately from Medicare Parts A and B, the hospital and physician coverage, respectively, through Medicare.
Yes, your retiree prescription drug coverage is considered creditable. That means if you enroll in a new Part D plan for January 1, 2019, you will not be charged a late enrollment penalty.
Yes, enrolled spouses and/or children eligible for Medicare due to disability, will also lose State prescription coverage on January 1, 2019. They should begin reviewing what prescription drug options are available to them. Please see the resources available in the May 15th and June 13th letters as well as this website.
Note: this does not apply to employees who may have Medicare-eligible dependents.
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