Medicare Enrollment Protection Act Introduced in House
Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) has introduced H.R. 8791, the Medicare Enrollment Protection Act of 2022 (the Act). The Act would amend the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide for a special enrollment period under Medicare, Part A (medical insurance) for individuals enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage. The Act would also prevent the increase of premiums in Medicare, Part A, and prevent a group health plan from considering an individual’s eligibility in Medicare, Part B to reduce or eliminate COBRA continuation coverage. In addition, if enacted, the Act would require the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to update COBRA continuation notices to include an explanation of Medicare secondary payer rules.
Medicare, Part A is generally premium-free for most individuals. But if an individual is required to pay for Medicare, Part A, a 10% penalty applies if the individual fails to enroll when first eligible. The penalty is assessed for twice the number of years the individual did not sign up. The Act aims to prevent the assessment of this penalty by introducing a “new” special enrollment period that would run from when the individual is first eligible for COBRA continuation coverage until three months following its termination. In addition, individuals would be permitted to use this “new” special enrollment only once in their lifetime.
Presently, an individual that elects COBRA continuation coverage and later enrolls in Medicare, Part B may be terminated from COBRA continuation coverage. The Act would prevent a group health plan from considering an individual’s eligibility in Medicare, Part B to reduce or eliminate benefits.
A similar Act was introduced by Representative Schrader in May 2019. Ascensus will continue to monitor any future developments.