NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2018

CMS Extends Needed Relief for Marketplace Enrollees Who Missed Medicare Enrollment, Statement by Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center

New York, NY—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a year-long extension, through September 30, 2019, of an important policy that can help some people with Medicare correct problems with their Part B enrollment. This opportunity—known as time-limited equitable relief—can lift the burden of lifetime late enrollment penalties and gaps in health coverage for current and former Marketplace enrollees who mistakenly missed signing up for Medicare.

Consumer advocates, insurers, unions, and health care providers had urged CMS to extend this important relief one more year or until CMS conducts sufficient outreach and education about the relief opportunity. Additionally, the Medicare Rights Center and some of the other organizations reported problems with the time-limited equitable relief application process, preventing some who are eligible from accessing it.

We applaud CMS for doing right by people who made an enrollment error due to confusion or misinformation about Medicare and the Marketplaces, and we look forward to working with our agency partners, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs), local Social Security Offices, and others to help people access this critical relief.

The Medicare Rights Center will continue to help people who call its national helpline to apply for time-limited equitable relief. People hampered by costly penalties and going without needed health care will benefit from CMS’s decision.

On September 28*, CMS notified the Medicare Rights Center about its decision to extend the time-limited equitable relief opportunity, and that additional guidance would be forthcoming. Last year, CMS also extended the time-limited equitable relief opportunity for one year, again heeding the call of consumer advocates, insurers, and health care providers who agreed that this important relief should be extended.

For more information on time-limited equitable relief and how to apply, see Medicare Rights’ online resource, Medicare Interactive, and:

  • Read the Fact Sheet updated by CMS
  • Call the Medicare Rights Center’s free national helpline at 1-800-333-4114
  • Call the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 1-877-839-2675 or visit the shiptacenter.org
  • Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or go to socialsecurity.gov, or visit your local Social Security office

Press Contact: Mitchell Clark – mclark@medicarerights.org

*Note: A previous version of this release said that CMS notified the Medicare Rights Center on September 26. The correct date of notification is September 28. 

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

Available only through the Medicare Rights Center, Medicare Interactive (MI) is a free and independent online reference tool that provides easy-to-understand answers to questions posed by people with Medicare, their families and caregivers, and the professionals serving them. Find your Medicare answers at www.medicareinteractive.org.

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