The BENES Act  (S. 1280/H.R. 2477) has been in the works since 2018. It is meant to address problems with enrolling in Medicare Part B. 760,000 pay a late enrollment penalty for Part B, according to estimates.

The BENES Act would:

  • Send notices to beneficiaries about their upcoming 65th birthday, so that people are aware of Medicare enrollment dates.
  • Change the General Election Period, the period to enroll in Part B,  to be the same as the Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7.
  • Change the delay in coverage date of Part B when you enroll after the month of your birth date.. Currently, if you enroll in the month after your birth month, then there are delays in your Part B coverage date.
  • The BENES Act would solve some other delays as well, such as the Special Enrollment Period vs IEP conflict. Currently, when both occur at the same time, the delay in coverage takes priority, and the result is that the Part B coverage date is not the one intended by the beneficiary.  If this seems complicated and convoluted: it is.
  • Introduce a Special Enrollment Period for those on COBRA, who want to enroll in Medicare Part B, but cannot, due to a misunderstanding about COBRA. Note: currently COBRA does not count as “health insurance” for Medicare purposes, and people unknowingly are subject to Part B Late Enrollment Penalties. In addition, those applicants currently are required to wait until the Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1st  – March 31st of each year. Even from that point, Medicare Part B coverage would not begin until July 1.

This, and more, on the Maximize Your Medicare Weekly Video:

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