California Health Advocates (CHA) supports SB 311 (Eggman), which would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to submit a State Plan Amendment for California to become a Part A Buy-In State. SB 311 would benefit low-income older Californians and persons with disabilities, who rely on Medicare and Medi-Cal but struggle to pay costly Medicare Part A premiums, by simplifying the enrollment process for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program – a program that pays for both Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles and co-insurance. As a Part A buy-in state, California would be able to directly enroll qualifying individuals into Medicare Part A and the QMB program anytime of the year. The Part A late enrollment penalties would also be waived for QMB enrollees. California is currently one of 14 states using an alternative group payer process that is confusing and loses qualifying individuals along the way.
In simplifying Part A and QMB enrollment, SB 311 would reduce inequities and provide financial relief for low-income individuals that are disproportionately women, people of color, immigrants, and formerly incarcerated older adults.
Please join us in supporting this bill. For more details, read the full letter of support.