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IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT MEDICARE ELIGIBLE RETIREES, MEDICARE ELIGIBLE SURVIVING SPOUSES AND MEDICARE ELIGIBLE DEPENDENTS OF RETIREES AND SURVIVING SPOUSES JOIN A MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN.

Because the prescription drug coverage you have with the Plan will no longer be provided after January 1, 2006, you should consider joining a Medicare prescription drug plan. You can first join between November 15, 2005 and May 15, 2006. This is important, because if you do not get Medicare prescription drug coverage (or equivalent coverage) before May 15, 2006, you may have to pay a higher premium if you join later. You will pay that higher premium as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage.

If you don t join a Medicare prescription drug plan by May 15, 2006 and change your mind later, you may pay more.

If you wait until after May 15, 2006, to join, your monthly premium for a Medicare prescription drug plan could be much higher than it would have been if you had joined by May 15. If, after May 15, 2006, you go 63 days or longer without prescription drug coverage that is at least as good as Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, your premium will go up at least 1% per month for every month after May 15, 2006 that you did not have that coverage. You will have to pay this higher premium as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. For example, if you go nineteen months without coverage, your premium will always be at least 19% higher than what most other people pay.

If you don t join a Medicare prescription drug plan by May 15, 2006, you may also have to wait to join.

Generally, after May 15, 2006, you can only join a Medicare prescription drug plan between November 15 and December 31 of any year. This may mean the number of months you have to wait for coverage will be longer, which could make your premium higher.

Once Medicare Part D becomes effective January 1, 2006, the Plan will not provide prescription drug coverage for Medicare eligible retirees, Medicare eligible surviving spouses, and Medicare eligible dependents of retirees and surviving spouses.

Your current coverage under the Plan pays for other health expenses, in addition to prescription drugs. You will still be eligible to receive all of your current health care benefits if you choose to join a Medicare prescription drug plan.

For more information about this notice, contact Blue Cross & Blue Shield Customer Service at 1-800-709-7881.

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