Ritter Insurance Marketing, Craig Ritter

Special Enrollment Periods Available for Hurricane Victims

All Medicare beneficiaries and qualifying individuals seeking coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria are eligible for special enrollment periods this fall.


According to CMS, the Medicare special enrollment period “will allow individuals affected by these hurricanes to enroll, disenroll or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans.” The Medicare special election periods begins at the start of the incident period for the affected individual’s area and runs through the end of the calendar year.

If you or your client believes they qualify for this SEP, you can contact 1-800-MEDICARE to confirm.

Under 65

Individuals enrolling in 2017 plans on the federal health insurance exchange or making changes to their existing plan have until December 31 of this year to do so. The period applies to those who “experienced a special enrollment period qualifying event between 60 days prior to the start date of the incident period and December 31, 2017, but were unable to complete the application, plan selection, and enrollment process due to a hurricane-related weather event in 2017.”

Additionally, CMS added a two-week extension to the 2018 Annual Enrollment Period for those individuals affected. They can now select a 2018 plan from November 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017.

Both of these periods are in addition to the Medicare and Exchange annual enrollment periods that occur in the fall each year. Medicare’s standard period runs from October 15, 2017, to December 7, 2017. The ACA open enrollment standard runs from November 1, 2017, to December 15, 2017.

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