On July 13, at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, the Administration announced an interagency effort to improve notice and education for seniors and people with disabilities new to the Medicare program. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration are collaborating to strengthen educational content and notification materials for people newly eligible for Medicare.
Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said, “Today’s announcement represents a major step forward in supporting the 10,000 Baby Boomers aging into Medicare each day. All too often, older adults and people with disabilities are unaware or misinformed about complex enrollment rules and timelines. Honest mistakes can result in lifetime premium penalties, gaps in health coverage, higher healthcare costs, and delayed access to needed healthcare.”
Heeding calls to action from leading consumer advocates and healthcare leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House unveiled an updated annual Social Security statement that will now prominently feature content on Medicare enrollment. Also announced were critical updates to agency websites, 1-800-MEDICARE call scripts, beneficiary notices, and more. Importantly, the White House committed to creating new tools for employers. Employers are often on the front line of these issues, shouldering the responsibility of communicating Medicare enrollment rules to their employees and retirees.
Baker continued, “With enrollment missteps becoming increasingly common, we applaud the White House for stepping in front of this important issue. These improvements to existing resources are sorely needed, but information gaps remain. No federal agency is responsible for providing a notice about the need to enroll in Medicare to those not automatically enrolled. As a next step, we encourage the Administration to develop a new and specific notice about enrollment rules and policies for all people approaching Medicare eligibility.”
For more information, visit “What You Need to Know First About Enrolling in Medicare.”