The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a time-limited opportunity allowing Medicare-eligible people who were or are currently enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces to enroll in Medicare Part B and to be relieved of any associated late enrollment penalties.
This chance to request equitable relief is welcome news for Marketplace enrollees who wrongly delayed or declined Medicare Part B enrollment. The relief may include retroactive or immediate Medicare Part B enrollment and a reduction in or elimination of Medicare Part B late enrollment penalties. People who were or are enrolled in Marketplace coverage and who are entitled to premium-free Medicare Part A can apply for this relief through September 2017.
Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, reacted to CMS’ announcement, stating, “A leading trend in calls to our national helpline is Medicare Part B enrollment issues, frequently from people who missed their initial enrollment period. Marketplace-related mistakes can be especially costly, resulting in gaps in health coverage, a lifetime of paying higher Medicare premiums, and tax penalties. By announcing this relief, CMS has done right by Marketplace enrollees who lacked the information and tools needed to make a sound enrollment choice.”
In addition, CMS announced the continuation of a notification initiative for people ages 65 and older dually enrolled in the Federal Marketplace and Medicare, making them aware of basic Medicare and Marketplace enrollment rules and an array of resources available to help them with their coverage choices.
Mr. Baker notes, “We continue to applaud CMS’ efforts to identify people with both Medicare and Marketplace coverage and to educate them about their health insurance choices and options, including this new prospect for equitable relief. At the same time, we strongly urge CMS to work with its federal partners and Congress on solutions—like advance notice and permanent expansions to equitable relief—to prevent Medicare Part B enrollment mistakes by all people new to Medicare, regardless of the coverage they now receive.”
For help applying for the time-limited equitable relief:
For more information about enrolling in Medicare, go to Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org), the Medicare Rights Center’s free online counseling tool. Visit Medicare Interactive to learn more about: