January 28, 2016

People with Medicare Can Ignore Marketplace Enrollment Deadline but Those with Marketplace Coverage Nearing Medicare Eligibility Must Act
–Failure to Transition from Marketplace Coverage to Medicare Could Result in Penalties and Gaps in Coverage—

New York, NY—People with Medicare should not be confused by the approaching January 31 deadline to buy coverage through the Marketplace, advises the Medicare Rights Center, the nation’s largest independent source of Medicare information.

For people already enrolled in Medicare, no action needs to be taken before the open enrollment period for Marketplace coverage ends.

“The bottom line is if you have Medicare, then the Marketplace open enrollment deadline does not apply to you,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “However, if you already have coverage through the Marketplace and are becoming eligible for Medicare, it is critical that you stay on top of your Medicare eligibility timing so that you can transition from Marketplace coverage to Medicare seamlessly.”

People with Marketplace coverage need to be  aware of when they will become eligible for Medicare so they can cancel their Marketplace coverage and enroll in Medicare. Failure to enroll in Medicare could result in higher health care costs, gaps in health coverage, disrupted access to needed care, and tax penalties.

To help people nearing Medicare eligibility understand how and when to transition from Marketplace coverage to Medicare, the Medicare Rights Center has information on its website, Medicare Interactive.

The Medicare Rights Center continues to urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide advance notice to people with Marketplace plans about nearing Medicare eligibility. The Medicare Rights Center recommends that CMS develop a comprehensive system to screen, notify, and educate these individuals about Medicare enrollment rules and obligation.

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Visit Medicare Interactive to find out more about Medicare and the Marketplace, and enrolling in Medicare when you have other types of insurance.

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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.

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