California Health Advocates submitted comments along with our partners at Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) regarding our support of key provisions of the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1280/H.R.2477) that were included in section 120 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) signed into law in December 2020. These changes will result in coverage under Part B that becomes effective sooner after an individual enrolls during Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), deemed IEP, or the General Enrollment Period (GEP). These changes will simplify the enrollment process and reduce gaps in health care coverage, and make it easier for affected beneficiaries to understand the effective date of their Medicare coverage. We celebrate these good changes.
We also applaud CMS for using its new discretion under section 1837(m) of the Act to propose new Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) for Part A and B enrollments and corresponding effective dates. These proposals would expand Medicare enrollment opportunities and reduce multi-month coverage gaps in Medicare.
We thank CMS for proposing SEPs that would address many of the barriers to timely Medicare enrollment, including reliance on erroneous information from an employer or plan sponsor. In addition, the proposed SEP that would apply when someone loses Medicaid coverage would assist individuals who lose Medicaid eligibility following the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and who did not enroll in Medicare in a timely manner.
Read our full comments here.