Florida Republican Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Carlos Curbelo have cosponsored the “Medicare Enrollment Protection Act.” Oregon Democratic Representative Kurt Schrader is leading the bill, which would allow for a special enrollment period for seniors 65 and older who have missed the normal enrollment period. As it stands, if they do not enroll in Medicare Part B in the first 8 months of their retirement, they will be penalized with higher premiums and their Medicare coverage will start at a later time. Retired seniors covered by COBRA are also penalized.Schrader explains that “Confusion over rules should not prevent anyone from receiving coverage, and it certainly should not penalize them for the rest of their life. No one should be slapped with higher premiums for life simply because they opted into a program that kept them in their own network longer. And it is unacceptable for anyone to have a lapse in coverage because of a confusing enrollment process.”
Lending their support in a bipartisan effort, Curbelo and Bilirakis praised the bill.
Curbelo expressed that “We should not penalize seniors through higher premiums because they chose to remain in their current network. Every day my casework staff hears about the horrors of navigating the federal bureaucracy, and we need to find ways to help those stuck in confusing processes. I’m proud support the Medicare Enrollment Protection Act of 2018 to help protect individuals who elect COBRA coverage and as a result, unintentionally missed the deadline to enroll in Medicare.”
And, Bilirakis added that the aim is “to ensure the transition from private health care to Medicare is easy. The current law does not meet that objective. Additionally, the law does not properly reflect the need for flexibility due to the various challenges that those exiting the workforce face in today’s economy. Our bill empowers seniors to make the health care decisions that best fit their individual needs without fear of a lifetime penalty, and I look forward to its quick passage.”