NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2015

Medicare Rights Center Releases New Medicare Snapshot 
— Highlights the Potentially Costly Mistake of Missing Part B Enrollment –

New York, NY—Today, the Medicare Rights Center released a new Medicare Snapshot: Stories from the Helpline, spotlighting the complexities of navigating Medicare enrollment. Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare, but the rules concerning how to enroll in Medicare are often unknown to retirees and people with disabilities.

“Too frequently, individuals mistakenly delay or decline Part B enrollment because they are unaware of their rights and obligations,” said Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center. “For those who fail to enroll in Part B in a timely manner, possible consequences include gaps in coverage, lifetime premium penalties, and disruptions in accessing needed care. Costly and disruptive Medicare enrollment mistakes are increasingly common and deserve the attention of federal lawmakers.”

To address these enrollment pitfalls, Medicare Snapshot outlines needed improvements to the Medicare enrollment process, including:

  • Better notice for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Enhanced support for employers and other messengers;
  • Streamlined Medicare enrollment periods; and
  • Expanded avenues for recourse.

For those approaching Medicare eligibility, Medicare Snapshot offers this advice:

  • Consider all of your options well before you become Medicare-eligible, and start thinking about Medicare enrollment six months before you become eligible.
  • If you have employer-sponsored health coverage, then you should carefully consider whether to enroll in or delay Medicare Part B depending on the size of your company and whether or not Medicare will be your primary coverage.
  • Make an appointment to speak to a representative at your local Social Security office about your circumstances after you have done some basic research.
  • Write down what you are told by the Social Security representative, confirm that you understand the information you are being given, and keep a record of all conversations.
  • If you are going to enroll in Part B, do so early in your Initial Enrollment Period so that you do not experience any delay in coverage.
  • If you are in an unusual circumstance, don’t assume that you understand how the general rules apply to you. Explain your circumstance to a trained counselor and ask questions!

For additional help, beneficiaries and caregivers can visit Medicare Rights’ informational website at www.medicareinteractive.org, or call the national helpline at 800-333-4114. Other resources include 1-800-Medicare and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

Medicare Snapshot: Stories from the Helpline is available at: https://www.medicarerights.org/medicare-snapshot-april-2015/

Contact: Mitchell Clark, Senior Communications Associate, mclark@medicarerights.org, 212-204-6286

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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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