New Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period for 2023: Individuals recently released from incarceration
Individuals who wish to enroll in Medicare Part B, which is the medical coverage portion of Medicare, can only enroll during an enrollment period. Starting in 2023, there is new Part B Special Enrollment Period for individuals who are recently released from incarceration.
Although Medicare does not cover medical services provided to incarcerated individuals, the age-based enrollment rule was historically not waived due to incarceration. This resulted in incarcerated individuals approaching 65 years old facing a choice: they could enroll for insurance they could not use - and have to pay ongoing premiums - or they could enroll once released from incarceration and pay a Late Enrollment Penalty.
Typically, individuals who were incarcerated did not enroll in Part B; upon release, they would sign up for Part B during the General Enrollment Period and be subject to a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP), or they would apply for a Medicare Savings Program (assuming they are income eligible), which enrolls them in Part B upon release (or anytime) and they don’t have to pay any LEP.
Starting January 2023, individuals who are released from prison will have a Part B Special Enrollment Period which will last for 12 months post-release. They can choose for their Part B coverage to begin the month following the month of enrollment, or retroactive up to 6 months (and they would have to pay the premium for those 6 months). In addition, they would not be subject to a Late Enrollment Penalty.
Individuals who wish to use this Special Enrollment Period can apply for Medicare Part B by contacting the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.