Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Todd Young (R-IN) recently reintroduced the Beneficiary Enrollment Notice and Eligibility Simplification Act, which has received support from both sides in the Senate. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) reintroduced the bill in the House in May of 2017.
The BENES Act aims to simplify Part B enrollment periods by requiring the government to notify people approaching age 65 six months before about the rules for enrollment and how Medicare works with other coverage. The Act also seeks to eliminate coverage gaps during enrollment periods, fixing gaps in the 5th, 6th, and 7th month of a person’s Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and in the General Enrollment Period (GEP). These changes would modernize a system that has not been updated since Medicare began.
There are several Medicare mistakes you can make inadvertently by not knowing all the rules, including:
- Not paying Part B premiums. Medicare sends you an invoice if premiums are not being deducted from Social Security. These invoices can be overlooked, and this can result in Social Security revoking your Part B and Medigap. You can call Medicare to set up automatic bank draft to avoid this oversight.
- Not letting Medicare know when you are no longer under employee coverage. Make sure to let Medicare know, as sometimes there can be miscommunication between employers and Medicare, and Medicare will deny claims if it thinks you are still under your employer’s coverage.
- Presenting your Medicare care when you should present your Medicare Advantage plan card.
- Using your Part D card for non-prescription expenses, or your Medicare card for prescription expenses.
- Paying your Part B deductible at the doctor’s office, before Medicare has processed the claim.
- Getting extra tests or physicals done by doctors other than your primary care doctor that are not covered by Medicare.
- Not reviewing your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC).
In light of all these possible Medicare blunders, the BENES Act seeks to streamline the Part B enrollment process. Not enrolling in Part B when you are eligible can result in paying a lifetime late enrollment penalty (LEP) that can amount to a 30% increase in your monthly Part B premium.
With 10,000 people turning 65 each day, and more and more of them working longer and delaying Social Security, passing the BENES Act would make Medicare great deal easier.