May 28, 2020
Today, we want you to know about other ways CMS is ensuring beneficiaries have access to the critical healthcare coverage they need in the wake of COVID-19. Specifically, CMS is offering “equitable relief” in the form of extra time for certain eligible beneficiaries to enroll in premium-Part A, Part B or, or refuse automatic Part B enrollment.
Also, eligible beneficiaries would not be subject to a late enrollment penalty for the period between the original enrollment period and the enrollment during this extension of the Part A and Part B enrollment period. Please note these additional actions are separate and distinct from the SEP we described recently for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan elections.
Therefore, under the new Medicare Part A and Part B Enrollment Equitable Relief, beneficiaries are eligible for equitable relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related national emergency if they were unable to make their Part A or Part B enrollment choice in a timely manner due to delays and problems with access to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to file an application or enrollment election, as a result of the unexpected closure of field offices due to COVID-19.
Additional time to use an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), General Enrollment Period (GEP), or a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)–such as the SEP for when a beneficiary’s enrollment in employer coverage based on current employment ends–in order to file an application for Part B or premium-Part A or refuse Part B. This equitable relief will last from March 17, 2020, through June 17, 2020.
Beneficiaries who wish to take advantage of this should contact SSA to apply for or enroll in Medicare. To apply for both Parts A and B, go online to https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/. Enrollees who already have Part A and are enrolling in Part B cannot enroll online. More information on the steps required to enroll in Part B is available here.
Lastly, eligible beneficiaries who wish to take advantage of the equitable relief must file their enrollment request by June 17, 2020.
What actions should brokers take?
Please guide your eligible clients who may be affected and eligible for this special relief.
Questions? Contact your local Broker Sales Representative. The Cigna Agent Resource Line (CARL) is also available Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST at 866-442-7516 or at CARL@Cigna.com
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