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If you are eligible for Medicare, you must be enrolled in the hospital (Part A) and medical (Part B) portions of Medicare at the time of your retirement. If you are an active employee, these requirements to enroll for Medicare coverage are deferred for you and your dependents until the termination of your employment. Because all plans that participate in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program have coverage options that are coordinated with Medicare, you will remain covered by the plan you have selected even after you enroll in Medicare. Premium rates will decrease if you or a dependent are eligible for Medicare and you are retired. Medical coverage under the IYC Health Plans (health plans that offer Uniform Benefits) does not change. The IYC Medicare Advantage plan also offers Uniform Benefits. The health plan will not duplicate benefits paid by Medicare. However, if enrolled in the Access Plan or SMP, your coverage will change to the IYC Medicare Plus plan, a Medicare supplement, when you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.

For all health plans, prescription drugs will continue to be covered.

If you are not eligible for and enrolled in all available portions of Medicare (A, B and D) upon retirement, you will be liable for the portion of your claims that Medicare would have paid beginning on the date Medicare coverage would have become effective. The only exception is under the IYC Medicare Advantage plan. If you are not enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B, you are not eligible for IYC Medicare Advantage.

For information about Medicare benefits, eligibility and how to enroll, contact your local Social Security Administration office or call 1-800-772-1213. In addition, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) has counselors in every state and several territories who are available to provide free one-on-one help with your Medicare questions or problems. The Wisconsin SHIP can be reached at 1-800-242-1060. Additional information and assistance can be found at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/benefit-specialists/ship.htm. A list of SHIP programs outside of Wisconsin can be found at www.medicare.gov/contacts/staticpages/ships.aspx.

1. What do I need to do when my spouse or I become eligible for Medicare?

Important! When you receive your Medicare card, please send a photocopy to the ETF immediately or your Medicare-coordinated coverage may be delayed.

If you become eligible for Medicare, your eligibility for COBRA coverage ends. Contact ETF for more information.

(State and Retirees only) ETF does not require you and your dependents to enroll in Medicare until you, the subscriber, terminate employment or health insurance coverage as an active employee ceases. (If you or your insured spouse is insured as an active employee under a non-state group plan, enrollment in Medicare may be deferred until retirement from that job. At the time of your retirement, you and your dependents who are eligible for Medicare must enroll for the Part A (hospital) portion and Part B (medical) portion of Medicare. When you and/or your dependents are retired and eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, your group health insurance coverage will be integrated with Medicare and the monthly premium will be reduced.

In general, enrollment in Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) is voluntary; however, you may pay a penalty if you do not enroll when you are first eligible or are not covered by what Medicare considers creditable coverage. Regardless, Medicare Part D coverage is provided by the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. Additional information about all parts of Medicare can be found in the following questions and answers.

Grad only: There is no Medicare reduced rate available to those enrolled in the Graduate Assistant program. 

2. When must I apply for Medicare?

State and Retirees only: 
Medicare Part A

Most people become eligible for Medicare upon reaching age 65. Individuals who have been determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) become eligible after a 24-month waiting period.

If you or your spouse are actively working when you become eligible, you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part A as it may cover hospital services if your health plan denies them. There is no premium for Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B
The requirement to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage is deferred for active employees and their dependents until the subscriber's termination of their Wisconsin Retirement System-covered employment, through which active employee health insurance coverage is provided.

If you have terminated employment, or are a surviving dependent, or a continuant and are eligible for coverage under the federal Medicare program, you must immediately enroll in both Part A and Part B of Medicare unless you are otherwise employed and have health insurance coverage through that employment. If you do not enroll for all available portions of Medicare upon retirement, you will be liable for the portions of your claims that Medicare would have paid beginning on the date Medicare coverage would have become effective. The only exception is under the IYC Medicare Advantage plan. If you are not enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B, you are not eligible for IYC Medicare Advantage.

If you or your insured spouse is insured as an active employee under a non-state group plan, enrollment in Medicare may be deferred until retirement from that job. Health insurance premiums will not be reduced until the employee retires.

For subscribers and their dependents with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): You will want to contact your local Social Security office, health plan, provider and Medicare to make sure you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B at the appropriate time. The State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program will provide primary coverage during the 30-month coordination period for members with ESRD. You will want to decide if it would be beneficial to enroll in Part B during your initial or general enrollment opportunities to avoid later delayed Medicare enrollment and potential premium penalties after your 30-month coordination period ends.

Medicare Part D
U.S. residents, retired members and their spouses and/or dependents that participate in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program who are Medicare enrolled, will be automatically enrolled in the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan, which is offered by Navitus Health Solutions and underwritten by Dean Health Insurance Inc., a federally-qualified Medicare contracting prescription drug plan. The prescription drug coverage under this program is Medicare Part D coverage. Your monthly health insurance premium includes a portion that applies to this program's coverage.

Please note that the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan is not available in the U.S. Territories, except for Puerto Rico. If you live in one of the other U.S. Territories, you must enroll in another Medicare Part D Plan. You will still have the wrap benefit available as secondary coverage.

Before Navitus can report your enrollment in Medicare Part D to Medicare, they need to have your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number and Parts A and B effective dates. In most cases, ETF will request this information from you two to three months in advance of your 65th birthday by sending you a Medicare Eligibility Statement (ET-4307). ETF will then provide the information to Navitus. Please complete and return this form as soon as possible to ensure you receive the benefits you are eligible for and your claims are paid properly.

If you do not receive the Medicare Eligibility Statement (ET-4307) at least one month before your 65th birthday, please contact ETF. 

If you are retired and cover a Medicare-eligible spouse or disabled dependent on your plan, please notify ETF and provide your spouse's or dependent's Medicare information.

Individuals may choose to enroll in another Medicare Part D prescription drug plan; however, it is not recommended or required for your continued coverage under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program.

If you choose to enroll in a different Medicare Part D plan, your health insurance premium for the state plan does not change, but your supplemental, wrap-around pharmacy coverage will be secondary to the other Medicare Part D plan. (See Question: Does Medicare Part D affect my prescription drug coverage? Should I enroll? and Question: Will my health insurance premium go down if I enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

3. Can I change health plans, cancel my insurance or change coverage levels when me or my dependent have a Medicare coverage change?

Yes. Covered retirees may change plans, cancel coverage or change coverage levels (for example, family to single) when a covered individual has a change in their Medicare coverage, for example, when they turn age 65 and gain Medicare. You must file an application within 30 days of the enrollment in Medicare. You can file it sooner, if you apply to enroll in Medicare up to three months before your 65th birthday. Coverage will be effective on the date the Medicare coverage begins. This does not apply to non-retirees.

Note: If you are eligible for Medicare, you must be enrolled in the hospital (Part A) and medical (Part B) portions of Medicare at the time of your retirement. If you are insured under active employee coverage, these requirements to enroll for Medicare coverage are delayed for you and your dependents until the termination of employment. If you are not enrolled for all available portions of Medicare upon retirement, you will be responsible for the portion of your claims that Medicare would have paid beginning on the date Medicare coverage would have become effective except for under the IYC Medicare Advantage plan. If you are not enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B, you are not eligible for IYC Medicare Advantage.

4. If Medicare coverage is in effect, how do I file Medical, Part B and Pharmacy claims?

If Medicare is the primary insurance, your provider must submit claims to Medicare first. Once Medicare processes the claim(s), Medicare will send you a quarterly Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). Exception: If you are enrolled in the IYC Medicare Advantage plan, your provider will submit claims to that plan and they will send you an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). 

IYC Health Plan Medicare:
Many of the health plans have an automated procedure after Medicare processes the claim, through which the provider then submits it to the health plan for processing. However, some health plans require members to submit a copy of the MSN and, in certain circumstances, a copy of the provider's bill. You should discuss with your provider if they will bill Medicare and your health plan on your behalf. Contact your health plan for additional information.

IYC Medicare Advantage:

IYC Medicare Advantage, offered by UnitedHealthcare, allows members to seek care anywhere in the United States and its territories. The benefits are the same in- or out-of-network. You can see any provider that accepts Medicare and is willing to treat you and bill UnitedHealthcare. When you visit your provider, you must show your health plan's card. Your provider will submit your claims directly to the health plan. To request reimbursement for a covered service charge that you paid, send your receipt (noting on it your name and your member ID) and a copy of your card to the address on the back of that card. Contact UnitedHealthcare for more information.

You must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to be eligible for the IYC Medicare Advantage plan. You should keep your Medicare card in a safe place, but you should not show it when you receive health care services, as the the IYC Medicare Advantage plan will be primary for your service. See Question: If I have Medicare as my primary coverage, how are my benefits coordinated?

IYC Medicare Plus: 
Your responsibilities in the claims process will depend on the policies and practices of the medical facility from which you receive care. You may be required to submit the claims to Medicare and then submit the proper forms to WEA Trust for supplemental payments. Refer to the IYC Medicare Plus Certificate of Coverage (ET-4113) available online (also available on paper from ETF) for more information, and contact your health care provider or facility regarding their particular Medicare claims procedures.

Pharmacy Benefit Manager: 
As long as you maintain the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan, as your Medicare Part D plan, Navitus will process your claims for both Part D and the supplemental wrap coverage that is included.

However, if you choose to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan other than the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan, your supplemental wrap coverage, which is part of your State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program pharmacy benefits will be considered secondary. You should be prepared to file the secondary claims manually through Navitus. Contact Navitus or visit their website for more information on filing manual claims. Refer to the Medicare Part D Information section for more details.

Medicare Part B pharmacy claims are covered under the supplemental wrap coverage benefit. For specific information on Medicare Part B pharmacy coverage and Part B claims processing, see the plan description page for Navitus Health Solutions.

5. What is the Medicare Cross-over Option?

Retirees only: Medicare Cross-over is designed to eliminate some of the paperwork involved in filing medical claims. Some plans have an agreement with Medicare to crossover claims for any services that Medicare processed as primary. Medicare will automatically forward your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to those plans for services you receive throughout the United States. Claim forwarding is automatic for each person covered under Medicare when a plan participates in Medicare Cross-over. You do not need to complete a form or contact a plan to take advantage of crossover. Please contact your health plan for further information.

6. If I have Medicare as my primary coverage, how are my benefits coordinated?

Retirees only: Since all state health plans have coverage options that are coordinated with Medicare, you will remain covered by the plan you selected after you are enrolled in Medicare, even though Medicare is the primary payor of your claims.

Exceptions:

  1. If you are enrolled in the IYC Medicare Advantage plan, UnitedHealthcare will pay your claims. 
  2. If you are enrolled in the Access Plan or SMP, your coverage will be changed to the IYC Medicare Plus plan.

There are some differences in benefits between these plans. IYC Medicare Plus is designed to supplement the benefits you receive under Medicare. For purposes of paying benefits, Medicare is the primary plan and IYC Medicare Plus is the secondary plan. This means Medicare benefits apply first and then the IYC Medicare Plus plan reviews the claims to determine if there is anything else that is payable.

If you are enrolled in one of the IYC Health Plans or the IYC Medicare Advantage plan, your health coverage will remain substantially the same as before Medicare coverage became effective. For purposes of paying benefits, Medicare is the primary plan and the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program is the secondary plan. This means Medicare benefits apply first and then the state health plans review the claims to determine if there is anything else that is payable. Because of this coordination with Medicare benefits, your monthly premiums for state health insurance will be less.

Note: For some benefits under the IYC Health Plan Medicare and IYC Medicare Advantage, such as durable medical equipment, Medicare Part B and the health plan both have a 20% coinsurance that you are responsible to pay.

7. What is the Social Security Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount (IRMAA) and does it affect me?

If you are enrolled in Medicare and your modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits established by federal law, you may be required to pay an adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical) and Medicare Part D (prescription drug; i.e. Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan) coverage premiums. The additional premium amount you will pay for Medicare Part B and Medicare prescription drug coverage is called the income-related monthly adjustment amount or IRMAA. Since Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program are required to have Medicare Parts A, B and D, the IRMAA may impact you if you have higher income.

To determine if you will pay the additional premiums, Social Security uses the most recent federal tax return that the IRS provides and reviews your modified adjusted gross income. Your modified adjusted gross income is the total of your adjusted gross income and tax-exempt interest income.

Social Security notifies you in November about any additional premium amounts that will be due for coverage in the next year because of the IRMAA. You must pay the additional premium amount, which will be deducted from your Social Security check if it's large enough. Failure to pay may result in Medicare terminating your coverage. The IRMAA is paid to Social Security, not the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. It is not included in your State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program premium.

Additional information can be found in SSA Publication No. 05-10536 or by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

8. What happens if an individual retires before age 65 or is otherwise not eligible for Medicare?

A retiring individual who is not eligible for Medicare will stay on their current plan. 

When the retiree turns age 65 or otherwise becomes eligible for Medicare, they will move to the Medicare version of the plan they are currently enrolled in. If they choose to do so, they may change plans by filing an application within 30 days of gaining eligibility for Medicare. 

Medicare Part D Information

9. Which Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is provided under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program?

Medicare related prescription drug coverage will be provided by Navitus Health Solutions (Navitus) through a self-funded, Medicare Part D Employer Group Waiver Plan (EGWP) called the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan. This plan is underwritten by Dean Health Insurance Inc., a federally-qualified Medicare contracting prescription drug plan. This affects Medicare-eligible participants covered under an annuitant contract enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. As required by Uniform Benefits and IYC Medicare Plus, a supplemental wrap benefit is also included to mainly provide full coverage to State members when they reach the Medicare coverage gap, also known as the "donut hole." But the supplemental wrap benefit will also provide coverage at other times when the EGWP does not, such as during the Medicare Part D deductible and the initial coverage phases. 

Your group health insurance premium already includes the cost of this benefit. There is no separate premium that needs to be paid for this Medicare Part D coverage. It is important that you read and understand the information presented on the Navitus MedicareRx plan description page. It is available online under the Available Plans page or on paper by calling ETF.

10. How does Medicare Part D affect my prescription drug coverage? Should I enroll?

Retirees only: A Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) provides primary coverage of prescription benefits through Medicare. While enrollment in a PDP is voluntary, if you do not enroll when you are first eligible and do not have what Medicare considers creditable coverage, you may have to pay a penalty in the form of a higher PDP premium once you do enroll.

Under the State group health insurance program, after you become eligible for Medicare Part D the following will happen:

  • You will be automatically enrolled in the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan. Medicare eligible spouses and/or dependents will also be enrolled. This is Medicare Part D coverage. Your group health insurance premium already includes the cost of this Medicare Part D coverage.
  • You will also be automatically enrolled for supplemental wrap coverage to ensure your prescription drugs are covered when you reach the Medicare Part D coverage gap, commonly referred to as the "donut hole." Your group health insurance premium already includes the cost of this supplemental wrap coverage.

When you are enrolled in the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan, you will be issued a new ID card that you will be required to use.

If you would like to maintain your current level of prescription drug benefits under our program, it is not necessary to enroll in another Medicare Part D plan. Nevertheless, participation in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is voluntary and you should carefully consider all options before making any kind of decision to enroll in a different Medicare Part D plan.

Also, if you are enrolled in Medicare and your modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits established by federal law, you may be required to pay an additional amount for your Medicare Part D coverage under the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan. Please refer to the Question: What is the Social Security Income-Related Monthly Adjusted Amount (IRMAA) and does it affect me? Please note that IRMAA is not unique to the Navitus medicareRx (PDP) plan. If you are required to pay the IRMAA, you would have to do so under any Medicare Part D plan.

11. Will my medications be covered at the same level under Medicare as they were when I was an active employee?

Retirees only: Some medications that are covered at a different level or require prior authorization under the Medicare Part D coverage did not have these requirements under ETF's Commercial Pharmacy Benefit.  Please check the IYC Medicare Plan Formulary at https://etf.benefits.navitus.com/ to see if there are changes in coverage to your current medications.

12. Will my health insurance premium go down if I enroll in a different Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

Retirees only: No. Your health insurance premium includes both medical and prescription drug coverage. If you choose to enroll in a different Medicare Part D plan, you will be dropped from the Navitus MedicareRx (PDP) plan and you will have to pay an additional premium to the other plan you enroll in. However, you will still have secondary coverage with the supplemental wrap benefits under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. There is no partial refund of the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program premium if you choose to enroll in a different PDP. Navitus will coordinate coverage with Medicare and pay secondary claims after Medicare processes your prescription claims from the other Medicare Part D plan, minus the applicable copayments and coinsurance that are your responsibility. If you enroll in another Medicare Part D plan, and you intend to stay in that program, notify ETF immediately. If ETF enrolls you in Navitus MedicareRx, you may be automatically disenrolled from your other plan by CMS.