If you were impacted by this year’s natural disasters, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for those who have been affected by recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared emergencies or major disasters. CMS has also announced an extension of the Annual Election Period (AEP) for individuals impacted by a FEMA declared emergency through December 31st, 2017. We’ll go over who is eligible to apply and in one states, as well as important documents you should have during your Medicare enrollment process.
1) This extension applies to people who fall into 1 of 2 scenarios:
- Individuals who were eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan (with a 2017 effective date) when the declared emergency or major disaster began, but were unable to make their election during their original enrollment timeframe.
- Individuals who were unable to complete AEP enrollment elections by the regular December 7, 2017 cut off date.
2) If you lived in any of the affected areas listed below, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare health plan during the Special Election Period
ALABAMA – State Wide
GEORGIA – State Wide
SOUTH CAROLINA – State Wide
FLORIDA – State Wide
TEXAS – Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton
LOUISIANA – Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, St. Charles, Vernon
3) For people who qualify to enroll during SEP…
- Individuals affected by these declared emergencies or major disasters are allowed to enroll, disenroll or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans in the event they were eligible but unable to make an election before the disaster occurred.
- It is available to individuals who reside in an affected area, or residided in an affected area at the time disaster was declared, but have since moved
- Is available to individuals who do not live in the affected areas but who rely on decision support from someone who does.
- The SEP begins on the incident start date as documented on the FEMA website and runs through December 31, 2017
- Individuals who are affected by a FEMA declared disaster and were unable to make 2018 plan elections during the Annual Election Period that ran from (October 15, 2017- December 7, 2017) will now have their election period extended through December 31, 2017. Applications taken between December 8th and December 31, 2017 will be effective January 1, 2018.
*CMS will continue to examine the circumstances in affected areas and will consider taking additional action that extends beyond December 31, 2017.
Individuals who were eligible to enroll with a 2017 start date, but had not done so by the time the disaster occurred, can now make that election at any time through year-end. The effective date will be the first day of the following month.
5) Important Documents to Have Ready When Filing During SEP
In order to prove that you resided in an affected area, it’s helpful to have:
- Driver’s license Or State ID
- Utility bill reflecting the individual’s address and/or the location where
you have been staying since the natural disaster
- Your application must be submitted with your original physical address in order to qualify and validate the SEP or AEP extension.
- Any documentation you filed and/or received from FEMA, the American Red Cross or any other
organization you sought out for assistance due to the natural disaster.
Not able to provide proof?
You are indicating that all information provided is accurate you live in an affected area or did so at the start of the incident period; or you rely on someone who resides in an affected area.
If you or someone you know is eligible to enroll in or switch their Medicare plan during this Special Election Period, contact one of our licensed Trusted Senior Specialists agents at our SEP Hotline. When it comes to your Medicare, it’s all about LOVE and TRUST!