The Medicare general enrollment period ended March 31, 2022, but some people who missed the deadline are getting more time.
One signs up for Medicare through Social Security. Social Security field offices were shuttered for many months, having re-opened only this past April. Making matters worse, during the closures in 2022 a new phone system made reaching local offices and the 800 number an exercise in frustration. Many prospective enrollees without internet access who were relying on the phone to enroll ended up missing the deadline.
If this describes your situation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will now give you until Dec. 30, 2022 to submit your Part A and Part B enrollment or disenrollment requests, without penalty. This applies to both the Initial Enrollment Period and the Special Enrollment Period for the year 2022. The agency describes this as “equitable relief.” You will have to contact the agency to get the ball rolling. For more information, you can call, or visit your local field office (masks still required for visitors). Find your local field office here. Or you can call the national toll-free number, 800-772-1214, which now appears operational.
What if you incurred medical bills during the period of time you were eligible for Medicare, dating back to January 1, and could not complete your enrollment because of these technical telephone problems? In that case, once you are enrolled in the program, you must ask your health care providers to re-submit invoices to Medicare. You will have to pay any premiums you would have otherwise paid, in one lump sum.
Once you have secured Medicare coverage, you will have two additional months to choose and sign up for a Part D (prescription drug) plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.