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Seniors to be Protected from Health Coverage Gaps Following Senator Hassan and Colleagues’ Call

Senator Hassan, Colleagues Pushed to Ensure That Seniors Have a Smooth Path to Medicare Coverage after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Issue Final Rule Updating Medicare Enrollment and Eligibility to Prevent Delays in Coverage

WASHINGTON – Following calls from U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and colleagues, the administration announced a final rule to create a new Medicare special enrollment period for seniors currently enrolled in Medicaid and waive any late-enrollment fees seniors may face for failing to get covered earlier due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

“Granite State seniors shouldn’t have to worry about losing their health insurance once the COVID emergency declaration formally ends,” Senator Hassan said. “I’m pleased to see the administration heed my call so that seniors can have a seamless transition to Medicare and not experience any gaps in their health care coverage.”

When the COVID-19 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. In April, Senator Hassan and her colleagues called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) 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 — which CMS has now announced it will do starting January 1, 2023.

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. Earlier this month, Granite Staters started to be able to buy hearing aids over the counter through Senator Hassan and colleagues’ bipartisan work to remove outdated regulations that blocked consumer access to affordable hearing aids.