The Federal Government has extended the time to sign up for Medicare, mainly the relief period, also known as the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), for people through September 30.
Normally the annual open enrollment for Medicare is January 1st through March 31st. This time is when people who missed signing up for Medicare Part B at the time they were supposed to. Generally the time to sign up is three months before you turn 65, the month of when you turn 65 and the 3 months after that month. For example, if your 65th birthday falls in February, you can sign up November through May. If you miss this period you must enroll during the Special Enrollment Period.
During the January 1-May 31st Special Enrollment, people will have to pay a late fee based on how many years you delayed signing up from your eligibility. Also, your coverage will not start until July 1st.
The federal government expanded the special enrollment period until September 30th. The time expansion is mainly for those who enrolled in marketplace insurance when they could have enrolled in Medicare after losing their spouse’s job-based insurance or their own plan. The fees that would normally be charged for late enrollment will be waived through this relief process. There will also be no gaps in coverage when enrolling late.
“CMS’ decision to expand equitable relief will help even more people hampered by costly penalties and those going without needed health care,” said Joe Baker, president of Medicare Rights. “We applaud CMS for doing right by people new to Medicare, 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.
If you qualify for the time-limited equitable relief, or have questions, you can go online and even apply at www.medicareinteractive.org.