May 28, 2012
In most cases, if you wanted to enroll or change plans for 2021 and didn’t get it done by December 7, you’re out of luck. Or maybe not, depending on where you live. Medicare-eligible individuals residing in certain states could qualify for special enrollment periods.
Medicare special enrollment periods (SEPs) are available to residents of Federal Emergency Management Agency-declared disaster areas.
This SEP gives individuals the opportunity to enroll in, disenroll from, or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans is open to those who:
- live (or lived at the start of the incident period,) in an area for which FEMA has declared an emergency or a major disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.); and
- had another Medicare enrollment period at the time of the incident period (such as AEP, October 15-December 7); and
- did not enroll or make a change during that enrollment period
The special enrollment opportunity runs for four full calendar months after the FEMA-declared incident period start date.
This means, residents of an area declared a disaster zone by FEMA as long ago as January will still be eligible to enroll or make a change in their Medicare plans for 2021 up until February, and in some cases, even March.
States containing FEMA-declared disaster areas in which SEPs may be available from January – April include: Idaho, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Oregon, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Hawaii, Georgia, Alabama, South Dakota, Arizona, and New Mexico.
“As specialists in Medicare insurance, we are aware how confusing it is to navigate the Medicare landscape, especially with these FEMA exceptions which go unnoticed by most beneficiaries. Given the disruption and challenges of 2020, this opportunity may be of interest to Medicare-eligible individuals who for one reason or another did not enroll in Medicare or change their plans during the annual enrollment period and would like to do so now.”– Dave Rich, CEO, Ensurem.
During natural disasters, seniors often don’t have the time, money, or resources to enroll in Medicare. Ensurem hears from seniors daily who are unsure whether or not they are eligible to make changes under this SEP. Learning about this eligibility can make a major difference in the quality of care seniors will receive.
How can seniors find out if they are eligible for special enrollment due to a federally declared disaster? Dave Rich can speak to the following:
- Who in Texas is eligible for a special enrollment period and why?
- How do seniors find out if they are eligible?
- What states are currently eligible and why?
- What choices do seniors have during this period?
- Why is it important to sign up for a good plan?
- What is considered a good plan and why?
- What other benefits do special enrollment periods have?