Problems with Enrolling in Medicare Part B
Clarified in New Report
Medicare Rights Center identifies problems,
recommends ways to improve the system
Nov. 19, 2014 - The
Medicare Rights Center, where
staffers spend much of their time counseling senior citizens about
Medicare, has released a report detailing common enrollment challenges
facing people new to the Medicare program. And, the authors even
contribute some thoughts on how the enrollment system can be improved.
As the Baby Boom generation ages into Medicare, an
estimated 10,000 people become Medicare eligible each day, while an
increasing share of older adults are delaying retirement beyond age 65.
In the report, Medicare
Part B Enrollment: Pitfalls, Problems and
Penalties, a compelling story is shared by a caller to
the Medicare Rights Center helpline. Believing that he had adequate
health coverage when he turned 65, the caller chose to delay enrolling
in Medicare Part B.
Unwittingly - and based on confusing information
received from his health plan - he made a choice that caused him to be
without adequate health coverage and will require him to pay a lifetime
premium penalty for Medicare Part B. Unfortunately, this caller is not
alone, in 2012, 740,000 beneficiaries were reported to be paying Part B
late enrollment penalties.
Simple, streamlined and standardized information
and tools are needed to adequately educate the thousands of individuals
who become eligible for Medicare each day, said Jonathan Blum, former
Principal Deputy Administrator of CMS and current Medicare Rights board
This new report from the Medicare Rights Center
draws a roadmap for federal policymakers who are eager to better support
people with Medicare and their families.
To enroll or not enroll is the question on 10,000
minds a day, said Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center.
Stories of Medicare enrollment woes are all too
common and will likely become increasingly so as the Baby Boom
generation ages into the Medicare program. These individuals can be, and
should be, better supported to ensure that they make the best possible
choice when nearing Medicare eligibility.
The report recommends that Congress, the Social
Security Administration and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services
prioritize key solutions to simplify Medicare enrollment and ensure that
fewer people make costly enrollment mistakes, including:
● Enhancing notification and education for
● Reforming the Medicare enrollment periods to
eliminate needless gaps in the start of health coverage.
● Strengthening avenues for relief, giving
greater opportunity for retroactive enrollment and the elimination of
● Conducting more research on how many people
are affected by Medicare enrollment challenges and how many will be
potentially affected in the future.
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