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Casey, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Older Americans and People with Disabilities Sign Up for Medicare

BENES 2.0 builds on BENES Act passed in December 2020, which eliminated needless coverage gaps for people new to Medicare

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) 2.0 Act to simplify Medicare enrollment for seniors and people with disabilities. The bill would require the federal government to provide advance notice to people approaching Medicare eligibility about basic Medicare enrollment rules, filling a longstanding gap in education for older adults and people with disabilities.

“When people sign up for Medicare, they should be supported every step of the way. Medicare is an American success story, and we have to make sure folks can make the most of the benefits they have earned,” said Chairman Casey. “This legislation will help seniors avoid the costly fees associated with missing the deadline to enroll, and hold onto their hard-earned savings.”

“Currently, seniors who miss the sign-up deadline for Medicare Part B face onerous penalties that persist for the rest of their lives. The BENES 2.0 Act will ensure individuals have access to the information necessary to make more informed decisions as they approach Medicare eligibility,” said Senator Young.

People who miss their initial Medicare enrollment window may pay lifetime late enrollment penalties. In 2020, about 776,000 people with Medicare were paying a Part B Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) and the average LEP amounted to nearly a 27 percent increase in a beneficiary’s monthly premium.

In December 2020, Congress passed key provisions of the original BENES Act, which updated Medicare enrollment rules to end needless gaps in coverage. In addition to Senators Casey and Young, the bill is cosponsored by Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Read more about the BENES 2.0 Act here.