There are thousands of Americans who missed the deadline to enroll in Medicare this year. That could mean big penalties for those patients when they realize their mistakes. It could also mean an extended period of time with no healthcare coverage.
Fortunately, though, CMS recognized the confusion and have provided a waiver option for those who missed the 2017 deadline. Hospitals are jumping on board, attempting to educate patients in order to prevent lapses in coverage, as well as costly penalties.
Most people understand that Medicare is a program intended to help people 65 or older cover the cost of medical care. It can also be used by those with disabilities, organ failure, or certain potentially fatal conditions. It is also widely known that Medicare does not cover the entire cost of maintaining one’s health. For that reason, some turned to the medical marketplace and sought out other insurance, rather than applying for Medicare this year. Missing the deadline, however, could end up costing these individuals large sums of money in fines.
The start of the Affordable Care Act increased the number of people who missed Medicare deadlines each year. In large part, the increase confusion was caused by people applying for healthcare coverage via the new marketplace and not understanding that they would have to apply separately for Medicare when eligible.
Fortunately, CMS understood that there was an added level of confusion this year, and that many were not provided adequate information when they became eligible for Medicare. Therefore, the organization has given those individuals until September 30th of this year to request a waiver. Hospitals are urging patients to file for the waiver, so they do not suffer the financial penalties or gaps in coverage.
The medical community benefits from patients being better informed about the Medicare program. After all, no medical professional wants to turn a person away for lack of coverage, particularly when healthcare is available for that individual.