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Take A Minute for Medicare

This month we will begin a three part series about Medicare Part D enrollment. Medicare prescription drug coverage is voluntary, but you can not sign up whenever you want. Enrollment in Medicare Part D is limited to certain times. So, it is important to know when you can enroll. There are three periods when you can enroll in Part D; the Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period, and Special Enrollment Period. We will start with the Initial Enrollment Period.

PART 1 – Initial Enrollment Period

Who can enroll in Medicare Part D?

In order to be eligible for Medicare Part D enrollment, you must:

  • Have Medicare Part A and/or Part B
  • Live in the service area of the plan that provides prescription drug coverage

When can I enroll in Medicare Part D?

When your Medicare begins you have an initial enrollment period for Medicare Part D. This initial enrollment period is a 7 month time period surrounding the month of eligibility for Medicare. The period begins 3 months before the month of eligibility for Medicare, the month of eligibility, and 3 months after. Let’s look at an enrollment timeline for Medicare effective April 1, 2017.

time for medicare

You may enroll in Medicare Part D anytime during these 7 months. Coverage will begin April 1, if you enroll anytime January through March 31. If you enroll in Part D during April, May, June or July, coverage under Part D will start the first of the month after the month you enroll. For example, you enroll in Part D in May, your Part D coverage will begin on June 1.

Next month we will discuss the Annual Enrollment Period.

For general Medicare questions, call DRW at 1-800-928-8778. For Medicare Part D questions, call the Disability Drug Benefit Helpline at 1-800-926-4862. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or visit www.medicare.gov to find out if Medicare covers your test, service, or item.

Job Posting – Advocacy Specialist

Disability Rights Wisconsin is seeking a full-time Advocacy Specialist for our Madison office.

The Advocacy Specialist is responsible for providing direct client advocacy and representation to individuals with disabilities and their families on a variety of disability-related issues, including victim services. Other duties include: administrative tasks related to case maintenance and reporting, outreach, information and referral, systems advocacy and training.

 Click here for more information.

Disability Rights Wisconsin Applauds Joint Finance for Ending Waiting Lists for Children

Disability Rights Wisconsin and many other disability advocates have sought the elimination of waiting lists for children for over a decade. The members of Joint Finance supported the Governor’s investment of $39 million dollars to support families raising children with significant disabilities. 

Read DRW’s full statement here.

DHS Video Tells Compelling Children’s Long-Term Support Wait list Story

The Department of Health Services has just released a video documenting the compelling case of Ben Gapinski, a child with autism who was on the wait list for Children’s Long-Term Support waiver services. The Governor’s proposed budget would finally end the wait list for the CLTS Waiver. Watch Ben’s story to see what impact this will have on families of kids with disabilities.


Beckert: Health Care Reform the Wisconsin Way

Disability Right’s Wisconsin’s Barbara Beckert has written an op-ed in today’s Journal Sentinel on how the AHCA affects Wisconsin and offers insights on what works for Wisconsin.



American Health Care Act: The Impact on People with Disabilities Milwaukee May 25

Join us at IndependenceFirst to learn how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will impact people with disabilities.  Barbara Beckert from Disability Rights WI will discuss the impact of the bill, including Medicaid cuts of $880 billion and the roll back of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Come learn how AHCA will affect health care choices and options, and how you can share your concerns with policymakers.

Thursday May 25, 2017

2:00PM to 4:00PM


540 South 1st Street

Milwaukee, WI 53204

DRW Presentation American Health Care Act

June Listening Session

Announcing the June 16th,  2017 Disability Rights Wisconsin Listening Session in Menomonie – please see flyer for additional information!

Menomonie Listening Session


DRW Statement on Findings of Inquest Into Death of Terrill Thomas at Milwaukee County Jail

Disability Rights Wisconsin is profoundly concerned about the inhumane treatment of individuals with mental illness and other disabilities who are held in the Milwaukee County Jail. The death of Mr. Thomas, as well as the 2016 deaths of several other inmates with mental illness, should serve as a warning that our community must act to decrease the growing number of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Read DRW’s full statement here.

BadgerCare Amendment poses Risks to Childless Adults’ Access to Medicaid

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is seeking federal approval of a waiver (exceptions to federal laws) to makes significant change to BadgerCare for childless adults.  Disability Rights Wisconsin is concerned that some provisions in the waiver will cause some Wisconsinites with disabilities who are enrolled in BadgerCare to become ineligible and lose access to Medicaid.  Read DRW’s testimony from the May 1st public hearing to learn more about the proposed changes to the BadgerCare Childless Adults waiver.

You can share your comments about the changes to BadgerCare with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Written comments will be accepted through May 19th.  Email your comments to Wisconsin1115CLAWaiver@dhs.wisconsin.gov.  If you would like assistance with your comments, contact DRW’s Public Policy Coordinator Amy Devine at 608-267-0214 or amyd@drwi.org

Click here to read our testimony from the hearing.

AHCA a Serious Threat to Wisconsinites with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions

Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s designated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, has grave concerns regarding the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), including the impact of the bill’s devastating cuts to Medicaid and weakened or eliminated protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Please click here to read our full position.