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House Committee Debates Measure to Simplify Medicare Enrollment

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2020 1:51 PM

Earlier this month the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives debated a bill to simplify enrollment for new Medicare beneficiaries signing up for Medicare Part B.

The “Legislation to Improve Americans’ Health Care Coverage and Outcomes,” witnesses and members of Congress considered H.R. 2477, Congress discussed the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act of 2019. This legislation would improve the outreach and education to beneficiaries, work to reduce gaps in coverage and ease the enrollment process.

New Medicare eligible beneficiaries are not automatically enrolled in Part B, and if they miss the initial deadline, they are subject to a permanent late enrollment penalty increase of up to 10% on their monthly premiums.  In 2018, this penalty affected 760,000 beneficiaries.

The full Energy and Commerce Committee needs to take additional steps through a committee mark-up, followed by consideration by the full House of Representatives before this can become law. A similar process will need to take place in the Senate, with the Senate Finance Committee holding jurisdiction over the legislation. An identical companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Source: NAHC Report


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