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Senator Hassan, Colleagues Call on Administration to Protect Seniors from Health Coverage Gaps

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined her colleagues in calling on the administration to ensure that seniors currently enrolled in Medicaid don’t lose their health insurance. The Senators are calling on the administration to ensure that seniors have a direct path to Medicare coverage after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.

When the COVID- public health emergency was announced, Congress passed into law legislation to expand Medicaid coverage for more children, working adults, and older Americans to ensure that they had access to health insurance. However, once the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, that expanded Medicaid coverage will end and states will begin removing ineligible individuals from the program, including older Americans who qualified for Medicare during the pandemic but have not enrolled in Medicare yet because they are still receiving health coverage through Medicaid. The Senators’ letter calls on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) Administrator Brooks-LaSure to establish a special enrollment period for these beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare coverage, and waive any related late-enrollment fees these seniors may face for failing to get covered earlier.

“We urge you to provide a smooth transition to Medicare coverage for these seniors through a special enrollment period, and to exempt them from any financial penalties that would otherwise be assessed for late enrollment,” the Senators continued. “CMS and stakeholder partners should conduct extensive outreach to raise awareness among seniors of this coverage change, and ensure they have the tools and information necessary to choose the Medicare coverage option that works best for them.”

Senator Hassan is working to lower health care costs for all Americans, and led successful, bipartisan efforts with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to help end the practice of surprise medical billing, which is now in effect. Senators Hassan and Cassidy also successfully passed into law their bipartisan legislation to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower drug costs. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan, which Senator Hassan helped pass into law, is helping to lower health care costs for many Granite Staters who purchase health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

The full text of the letter is available here.