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Medicare Extensions For Hurricane Victims
Posted in: Medicare/Medicaid on January 9th, 2013

People whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Sandy who are receiving Social Security or Disability Insurance and eligible for Medicare, are being allowed to enroll or make changes in their  benefits plan past the usual December 7th, 2012 cut off. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is giving participants who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy more time to complete their annual enrollment choices in the 2013 Medicare plan selection.

Extra Time For Insurance Enrollment

Each year, millions of people have the opportunity to review their healthcare coverage during the usual Medicare annual open enrollment period during October to December. However, Hurricane Sandy’s incredible damage on the East Coast has caused widespread disruption for many Medicare-eligible individuals, making the services selection process difficult.

The CMS realizes the huge impact and they are allowing beneficiaries additional time to review their options and to enroll in the 2013 service plan year. This includes people whose family members were affected by the storm, especially if those family members help you with your daily healthcare decisions.

The following information from outlines participants who now have more time to enroll for 2013 benefits. If you have been denied coverage or have additional special circumstances, a consultation with a Social Security Lawyer specialized in disability may provide further help.

  1. Who gets extra time for Medicare annual enrollment? Anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy is being provided extra time for Medicare enrollment. This includes individuals living in the affected area as well as those who, “rely on help making healthcare decisions from friends or family members who live in the affected areas,” according to CMS. No proof is required in order to have additional time.
  2. How much time do people have?
    Medicare is urging people to try to make their enrollment decisions before the end of January if they can. Those who cannot should try to enroll as quickly as they can. Officials have not set a new deadline. If you enroll in a new plan, coverage will begin the first day of the month after you enroll. For example, if you enroll on Jan. 14, your plan coverage will begin Feb. 1. You will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan if you don’t enroll in a new one for 2013.
  3. What action is needed to get more time?
    To enroll in a plan, affected participants should call the Medicare offices at 1-800-MEDICARE and identify themselves as having been delayed by Hurricane Sandy. It is recommended to call once Medicare participants have decided on the plans they want to enroll in for 2013. Medicare specialists are standing by to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and they can help individuals, families and caregivers with choosing and enrolling in Medicare coverage for 2013.


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