Avoid the Rush: Taking advantage of off-cycle retiree transitions

March 2, 2012

If you are considering a move to a Medicare Exchange for your retirees, now is the time to start thinking about an off-cycle transition. Because the Retiree Drug Subsidy loses its tax-deductible status starting in 2013, many corporate employers are timing a new retiree strategy to coincide with this pivotal legislative change. Extend Health and CMS anticipate a very busy fall season in 2012 due to this tax event, as employers decide to make transformative changes to retiree benefit plans.

Making a change to your Medicare population does not have to coincide with the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) in the fourth quarter. Changes can be made at any time during the year. Many Extend Health clients have chosen to transition to the Medicare exchange platform for effective dates other than January 1st.

Among the advantages of making an “off-cycle” transition in 2012 is the ability to avoid the busy fall enrollment season, when existing Medicare beneficiaries can and often do review and change their Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D coverage. Retirees who lose group coverage always have guaranteed Issue status during a special enrollment period that allows them to move into the individual supplemental Medicare market — no matter what time of year the change takes place.

An off-cycle transition also separates retiree benefits management tasks from the usual end-of-year enrollment period for active employees. HR departments can focus on the retiree transition without also having to manage the administration of active employee enrollment at the same time.

If you choose an off-cycle transition, you can have full confidence that Extend Health will take good care of your retirees and that it will allow them (and you) to avoid the AEP rush.

Visit Extend Health to use the ExtendExchange™ platform – the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange.

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