BENES Act for Part B Enrollment

Posted:July 26, 2016

Starting Medicare Part A and Part B is usually a straightforward, automatic process when an American turns 65. However, many Americans today are delaying retirement, choosing to work past their 65th birthday. This delay can cause issues in applying for and starting Medicare benefits.

The Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act, developed by the Medicare Rights Center, was recently introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The BENES Act is intended to fix issues associated with voluntary delaying Medicare enrollment.

The BENES Act focuses on Medicare Part B. For example, the Part B late enrollment penalty is calculated based on how long a Medicare recipient goes without Part B after becoming eligible. However, medical benefits provided by an employer to someone who works after their 65th birthday counts as credible coverage. The Part B late enrollment penalty can be appealed with documentation from the employer. The Medicare Rights Center says “the BENES Act broadens the circumstances in which beneficiaries may request equitable relief from Part B premium penalties and gaps in coverage.”

There is a similar late enrollment penalty associated with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. The Part D late enrollment penalty can also be appealed with a letter of credible coverage from an employer who provided Rx coverage during uncovered months