Panel to Address New Medicare Drug Benefit
A panel of experts will take part in a Sept. 14 discussion of the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program that goes into effect in January.
The program, which affects those who will be age 65 or older on Jan. 1, 2006, or who have a partner or family member in the Medicare age group, will be addressed from 10 a.m. to noon in the Gerontology Auditorium on the University Park campus. Coffee will be available from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
Speakers include Anita Chun, community education coordinator of the Center for Health Care Rights, a nonprofit organization that provides free assistance with Medicare issues; Jeffry Huffman, president and CEO of USC Care Medical Group; and Lisa Macchia, director of USC Health Plans.
“All USC faculty and staff, whether retired or active, who will be age 65 or older on Jan. 1 will have to know about Medicare Part D,” Macchia said.
Part D, approved by Congress in 2004, arrives with lengthy regulations that detail drug benefits, deductibles, TrOoP (True Out of Pocket expenses, which all participants must pay), percentages of prescription drug expenses covered and the monthly premium that will be charged.
The plan also affects USC Senior Care participants, who must enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan in order to continue to have prescription drug benefits.
The Sept. 14 program � co-sponsored by the Retired Faculty Association and the Retired Staff Association � will provide information to assist faculty and staff in making choices that suit their situations.
Carole Gustin, president of the RSA, said the program will cover such questions as eligibility, what is and is not covered under the plan, changes in the Senior Care Program and how the changes affect those in health-care programs such as Kaiser Senior Advantage and PacifiCare’s Secure Horizons.
The announcement of contracts for PDP bids approved by Medicare is scheduled for Sept. 14, and enrollment in Part D begins Nov. 1. The PDP benefit will begin Jan. 1 for those who have enrolled before that date.
Anyone eligible who does not enroll by May 15, 2006 will have to pay a penalty for late enrollment, Macchia said.
For more information on the Sept. 14 program, call Carole Gustin at (310) 842-7544.