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Employer Bulletin

State Agencies & Local Health Employers
Vol. 22, No. 11
June 28, 2005

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit

Many employers recently received a letter from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal agency responsible for development of Medicare Part D, the new prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries scheduled to begin January 1, 2006. CMS created the Retiree Drug Subsidy Center (RDS) to serve as a resource for employers seeking information about the Medicare Part D subsidy program.

Employers as well as employees, retirees, and/or their dependents enrolled in Medicare may have questions about Medicare Part D. At this time, CMS has not provided sufficient guidance to allow the Group Insurance Board to decide which approach (out of several) will best serve subscribers in the state of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. Consequently, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) strongly urges Medicare beneficiaries (employees and retirees) in the program not to enroll in Medicare Part D coverage until we can advise them on how to proceed.

Please note that Medicare will begin enrolling certain low-income participants automatically and will notify these participants in early- to mid-summer. ETF is working to identify the individuals in our program affected by this automatic enrollment.

ETF is closely monitoring Part D developments and how it could affect our program. Our goal is to obtain the greatest reimbursement from Medicare, allowing ETF to reduce premium rate increases while minimizing participant confusion about enrollment and benefits. We will continue to keep you informed of any developments that affect employers and/or subscribers. We will provide further information in late summer or early fall, primarily through the following outlets:

  • The It’s Your Benefit newsletter, mailed directly to subscribers;
  • The It’s Your Choice booklet (available during Dual-Choice enrollment in October);
  • Special mailings to annuitants; and
  • Our Internet site, at Please check under the “What’s New” column.

We thank you for your patience and understanding while we strive to effectively incorporate this new initiative into our health insurance program. Employers with questions about the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit should contact Kari Jo Zika at (608) 266-1423. Questions related to health insurance eligibility and enrollment should be directed to the Employer Communication Center at (608) 264-7900.


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