Hurricane victims get special enrollment period for healthcare exchange, Medicare

Paul Naron carries out damaged items from his flooded house after Hurricane Irma struck in Coconut Grove, Fla., on September 11. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said some hurricane victims may be eligible for a special open enrollment period for the healthcare exchange and Medicare. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

Sept. 29 (UPI) —┬áThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday said it is opening a special enrollment periods for Medicare and the healthcare exchange for people affected by the recent hurricane season.

Some U.S. residents affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria may be able to make changes to their Medicare plan or drop the plan starting from the beginning of the incident date through the end of the calendar year.

The CMS also opened up 2017 plan enrollment for those who experienced a special qualifying event between 60 days before the qualifying event and Dec. 31. The regular open enrollment period for the healthcare exchange for 2018 plans is Nov. 1-Dec. 15. People who live in areas affected by hurricanes could have until Dec. 31 to enroll.

“The lives of millions of Americans have been disrupted and impacted in some way by recent hurricanes,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Setting up special enrollment periods gives Medicare beneficiaries and individuals seeking coverage on the Federal Exchange the opportunity to access health coverage during this difficult time and when they need it the most. We remain committed to doing all we can to help support the areas and individuals affected by these historic and catastrophic hurricanes.”


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