Medicare is extending its offer of relief from penalties for certain Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in Medicare Part A and had coverage through the individual marketplace. Beneficiaries who qualify will be able to enroll in Medicare Part B without paying a penalty for late enrollment if they enroll by September 30- 2018.
Individuals who do not enroll in Medicare Part B when they first become eligible face a stiff penalty- unless they are still working and their employer’s plan is considered “primary.” For each year that these individuals put off enrolling- their monthly premium increases by 10 percent — permanently.
Some people with marketplace plans – that is- plans purchased by individuals or families- not through employers — did not enroll in Medicare Part B when they were first eligible. Purchasing a marketplace plan with financial assistance from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) can be cheaper than enrolling in Medicare Part B. However- Medicare recipients are not eligible for marketplace financial assistance plans. And because marketplace plans are not considered equivalent coverage to Medicare Part B- signing up late for Part B will result in a late enrollment penalty.
To address this problem- the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing individuals who enrolled in Medicare Part A and had coverage through a marketplace plan to enroll in Medicare Part B without a penalty. It is also allowing individuals who dropped marketplace coverage and are paying a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B to reduce their penalty. CMS is now expanding the offer of possible relief to people who should have signed up for Part B during a special enrollment period that ended Oct. 1- 2013- or later but instead used exchange plans. It is also extending the deadline to September 30- 2018 (the earlier deadline was September 30- 2017).
To be eligible for the relief- the individual must:
Have an initial Medicare enrollment period that began April 1- 2013 or later; or
Have been notified on October 1- 2013- or later that they were retroactively eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A; or
Have a Part B Special Enrollment Period that ended October 1- 2013- or later
This offer is available for only a short time. To be eligible for the relief- individuals must request it by September 30- 2018. Gather any documentation you have to prove that you are enrolled in a marketplace plan. Individuals who are eligible should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their local Social Security office and request to take advantage of the “equitable relief.”
For more information- click here.
For more information about Medicare’s late-enrollment penalties- click here.