Washington, DC – Congresswoman Katie Hill (D-CA-25) today visited the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center to announce her latest legislation, the bipartisan H.R. 1788, The Medicare Part B Fairness Act, which reduces the penalty for late enrollment in Part B of Medicare.
“Right now, Medicare offers an initial enrollment period three months before and after your 65th birthday. If you miss that window, you will be subject to a late enrollment fee for every year of delay — for the rest of your life. Now that Social Security benefits aren’t typically claimed until 67, a growing number of people are missing this window. That’s a problem we can fix,” said Hill.
The Medicare Part B Fairness Act will:
Put a cap on the length of penalties for seniors who miss the enrollment period
Create exemptions from penalties for those who delayed because they were enrolled in a COBRA, VA, or employer plan
Address enrollment pitfalls many seniors fall into, through no fault of their own
Hill announced the legislation alongside Diana Love, a Lancaster resident and local community leader who brought the issue to Congresswoman Hill and saw the bill through to its final stage.
“This nation was built by the sweat of those before us. Today, seniors experience poverty at an elevated rate -- I want to see our country give seniors the respect they have earned, by easing their burden and enriching their lives with dignity,”said Love. “Representative Hill's bill will finally address the issue of Medicare Part B penalties for seniors. I'm proud to have worked on this bipartisan legislation and I am thankful to the Congresswoman for her work on this important issue."
The two met with seniors at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center to discuss the bill and tour the facility.
“This legislation was born in our district and I am proud to stand alongside Diana and talk with our community members about the impact this critical legislation would have on their lives,” Hill said.
Congressman Brian Babin (R-TX-36) is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.
“As with any insurance marketplace, Medicare is stronger when the pool of enrollees is as large and diverse as possible. I have heard from Texans throughout my district about the disincentive that the rules and high penalties for Medicare Part B enrollment present, and I am pleased to help lead this effort to reform them,” said Babin.
The bipartisan legislation has received wide support from the Medicare Rights Center, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Association of Mature American Citizens.