Medicare Anomalies

Medicare has over the years has made some really strange rules that governed how Medicare recipients are treated by CMS.

The most egregious one is that Medicare states that COBRA is not considered to be creditable coverage and those that chose COBRA instead of taking Medicare when their working career ended are fined for the rest of their life based on the then Part B premium. Over the past 10 years, the Part B premium has doubled in cost to the recipient. Federal statutes state that COBRA is creditable coverage because you cannot treat a former employee differently (Benefit wise) then current employees. Stated differently, both the current and former employee has the same medical and dental benefits)

Yet, for years CMS has treated it differently and charged a penalty for those who took COBRA instead of going on Medicare.

Several years ago I approached Dr. Joe Heck, my Congressman and discussed the COBRA issue and that the affordable care act had eliminated the OEP (Open Enrollment Period from January 1st to March 31st as a 3rd time when Medicare recipients could change their drug or Advantage plan one more time before they were locked in for the balance of the year. We worked together to write a bill to get both those items fixed for seniors.

It has taken almost 4 years but now one of those two items is finally being resolved. Reinstating the OEP for Medicare recipients will be signed into law shortly by President Obama. It is part of an overall health bill passed by both the Senate and House recently. It appears that the OEP will start again in 2018? COBRA reform is still alive but not a major priority yet.

Part of that COBRA reform should be the repealing of fines Medicare recipients have paid because they took COBRA instead of Medicare. That is currently not included in the bill to make COBRA creditable coverage under Medicare. IT SHOULD BE!

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