Limited-time Equitable Relief Can Waive Part B Penalty for Some Who Mistakenly Delayed Part B Enrollment

Limited-time Equitable Relief Can Waive Part B Penalty for Some Who Mistakenly Delayed Part B Enrollment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering a time-limited opportunity for equitable relief for people enrolled in Marketplace plans who mistakenly delayed or declined Medicare Part B because of being given mis-information or mistakes regarding tax credits or other subsidies. This mis-information could have been from a Medicare representative, Social Security rep, or someone else acting on the government’s behalf, such as a Medicare Advantage plan customer service rep. Equitable relief allows an individual who made a Part B enrollment error to request retroactive Part B enrollment and/or relief from the Part B late enrollment penalty from the Social Security Administration.

The Medicare Rights Center has put together a tip sheet on how to request Equitable Relief and what information to include in your letter to Social Security:

In your letter, as stated in the tip sheet, make sure to include as many details as possible, such as: who you spoke with (if you have their name) that gave you the mis-information, the date and time and outcome of your conversation. Remember to clearly state whether you want Part B enrollment effective immediately, or retroactively to a specific date, and/or if you request a waiver of the Part B penalty. If you request retroactive enrollment, you must pay the Part B premiums retroactive to your specified date.

This opportunity to request equitable relief is only available through March 2017. Please share and spread the word so that people negatively affected by mis-information can receive it Also, contact your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) for help requesting equitable relief.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.