The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule doing away with unnecessary coverage delays following Medicare enrollment. Currently, if a person enrolls in Medicare during the last three months of their Initial Enrollment Period—that is, in one of the three months following their 65th birthday month—Medicare does not become effective until the second or third month after they sign up. If a person misses their initial or special enrollment period and signs up during their general enrollment period from January 1 to March 31, coverage does not start until the following July. Under the proposed rule, coverage in both cases would start the month after enrollment.
The proposed rule would also allow for the creation of a special enrollment period when Medicare enrollment is late due to exceptional circumstances, including natural disaster, employer or health plan error, release from correctional facility, termination of Medicaid coverage, or other situations deemed exceptional.
These proposals would expand Medicare enrollment opportunities and reduce multi-month coverage gaps in Medicare. If passed, the new rule would become effective starting January 1, 2023. Read more here.