Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period deadline

Monday, December 19, 2016

From the Office of the Insurance Commissioner - SHIBA

People who failed to enroll in Medicare Part B when they first became eligible for Medicare (Initial Enrollment Period) because they mistakenly believed they could continue with their Health Benefits Exchange plan and subsidies, have a limited time to apply for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare Part B with no late enrollment penalties.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mailed notices to people age 65 and older in this situation, advising them to drop their Exchange plan and enroll in Part B.

The deadline to apply for Equitable Relief with the Social Security Administration (SSA) is March 31, 2017.

People who received the notice, those who have concerns about not having Exchange subsidies even if they did not receive a notice (or lost it), or those who received misinformation about qualifying for tax credits, should contact SSA to apply for Equitable Relief.

Individuals should submit any information or documentation they have on how they learned the subsidies would not apply and/or why they thought they could continue subsidies. They should include:
  • Any letters (including the notice referenced above) 
  • Emails 
  • Notes from conversations 
  • Information about problems for limited-English speaking individuals in understanding 
  • Other information that might be relevant 
Consumers with questions should call SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with a local SHIBA advisor.

Note: The CMS notice refers to the “Marketplace,” which is the federally sponsored site for states that did not create their own exchange. The Washington State Health Benefits Exchange (also known as Washington Healthplanfinder) is also included in this SEP.


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