Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Individuals affected by HurricaneKatrina are being given a specialenrollment period (SEP) to changetheir Medicare prescription drugplans in 2006. Officials of the Centersfor Medicare & Medicaid Servicessaid that people will be considered"evacuees" and eligible for SEP ifthey reside in any of the ZIP codesdeclared as meeting the level of"individual assistance" by theFederal Emergency ManagementAgency at the time of the hurricane.

The extended period means thatKatrina evacuees will be able to joinand switch Part D plans throughDecember 31, 2006, without penalty.These individuals may change plansregardless of a change in residenceor whether there are any other circumstancesthat require additionaltime to choose or change plans. Todetermine SEP eligibility, Medicareofficials must first attempt to obtainproof that the individual is in theaffected ZIP codes. If individuals cannotshow proof, the plan mustaccept the beneficiaries'affirmationthat they resided in an affected ZIPcode.