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Meet Your 2016 Application Deadline: Tips for Success

September and October are the busiest months for RDS Plan Sponsors preparing their annual applications. Review the following information for tips to help meet the deadline for submitting the 2016 application.

Know your Application Deadline. To participate in the RDS Program, Plan Sponsors must submit a timely annual plan application, which consists of both a Valid Initial Online Application and a Valid Initial Retiree List, prior to the expiration of the Application Deadline. The Application Deadline is approximately 90 days (adjusted for Federal holidays and weekends) before the Plan Year Start Date selected when the Plan Sponsor started a new application. After a new application is started, the Application Deadline displays on the Application Status page in the RDS Secure Website.

If the Plan Sponsor finds it will be unable to meet the Application Deadline, it may request one 30-day Application Deadline Extension using the RDS Secure Website. Refer to How Do I Know My Application Deadline Was Met? for ways to verify you have submitted a timely application.

Note: If a Plan Sponsor misses the Application Deadline, it has a couple of options. Refer to Options After a Missed Application Deadline for more information.

Ensure emails are received from CMS' RDS Center. CMS' RDS Center's official means of communication to the Plan Sponsor is through email. It's important to make sure all individuals involved with the Application Submission Process have valid email addresses on record with CMS' RDS Center. RDS Secure Website users can update their email address at any time using the Manage User Information link. Refer to Manage User Information for instructions.

Note: If CMS' RDS Center detects an issue with a user's email address, they may be asked to verify it after submitting information on the RDS Secure Website Login page or Validate Person Information page. Refer to Verify Email Address for instructions to validate your email address.

In addition to keeping a valid email address on record, users should ensure that messages sent from RDS email addresses are not blocked by any SPAM filters or Blocked Senders Lists. Don't miss out on important emails regarding user registration invitations, application approval, and deadline reminders.

Maintain active user accounts. Federal Security Regulations require RDS Secure Website users to log into the RDS Secure Website every 180 days to maintain an active user account. If a user does not log in every 180 days, the user's account will be disabled due to inactivity. The Account Manager and Authorized Representative must have active accounts to submit an application, and the Actuary must also have an active account to attest an application. Don't let a disabled user account hold up the Application Submission Process.

Refer to Enable Your User Account for tips on maintaining an active account and instructions to enable an account if it is disabled.

Learn how to expedite the process. The steps of the Application Submission Process do not need to be completed sequentially. There are a few application process paths that may be taken. For example, while waiting for the Actuary to attest the application in Step 4 or working with the Pharmacy Benefit Manager to decide Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Methods and Sources for Step 7, the Plan Sponsor can record banking information in Step 5 and define Payment Frequency in Step 6. Find out your options by reviewing Expedite the Application Process in the September 2014 RDS CIG webinar recap article.

If you have questions or need additional information, contact CMS' RDS Center.