CMS is granting an extension of the SEP (special election period) for individuals affected by the recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the wildfires in California. This SEP allows individuals impacted in those areas to enroll for coverage or make a plan change through March 31, 2018.
CMS is providing beneficiaries affected by the California wildfires an SEP that gives them an additional opportunity through March 31, 2018 to add, drop or change their Medicare health and prescription drug plan in the event they were unable to make an election during the fall open enrollment period or another election period for which they were eligible.
Individuals will be considered “affected” and eligible for this SEP if they reside, or resided at the start of the incident period, in the FEMA declared emergency or major disaster area related to the recent wildfires in California. An individual can use this SEP once for each election period they missed. Thus, individuals who made an election during the annual election period (AEP) cannot use this SEP to make a second AEP election. Click on the links below to see the counties included as announced by FEMA.
The effective date for the new health plan coverage will be the first day of the month following the date the plan receives the enrollment request. If the SEP is being used to disenroll from an existing plan, the effective date of the disenrollment will be the last day of the month. In addition, the SEP is available to those individuals who don’t live in the affected areas but rely on help making healthcare decisions from friends or family members who live in the affected areas.
Note that you may also contact 1-800-MEDICARE to request enrollment using this SEP.