SAN DIEGO, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study published by Eligibility.com uncovers a hidden side of the confusion surrounding Medicare enrollment – late enrollment penalties. The study shows how hundreds of thousands of Americans, if not more, face lifetime enrollment penalties totaling $5,000.
The web-publisher and advocacy firm sought to learn the true potential extent of these penalties after countless conversations navigating the Medicare program with individuals through Eligibility.com.
The study, titled "Medicare Penalties: Why Do They Occur? How Many People Pay Them?" explains how many beneficiaries actually pay late enrollment penalties, how much it costs them, and why it happens.
Over 50 million people are currently enrolled in Medicare in the United States, and some 80 million total will be eligible by 2035. The penalties are widespread, as hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries pay penalties each month, and millions more are at risk.
Penalties are most often attributed to confusion with the Medicare program. When Medicare part D was instituted, 46% of seniors commented that they didn't know if there were financial penalties for late enrollment or said that there were no such penalties. Additionally, 37% said they would not enroll in this part of Medicare because "it's too complicated."
The study shows how beneficiaries can quickly rack up penalties when they delay enrollment. Some beneficiaries have reported paying over $50/month in late enrollment penalties, and the penalties typically remain in effect for the lifetime of the beneficiary.
Legislators insist that the penalties are a necessary component to incentivize beneficiaries to enroll immediately instead of waiting until coverage is needed. Beneficiaries protest that these penalties are far from effective, exacerbated by things like variable penalty costs, confusing requirements, and a lack of auto-enrollment in Medicare programs.
The firm also launched an easy-to-use Medicare Penalty Calculator tool, for visitors to calculate their potential penalties for missing enrollment in Medicare Part B.
Eligibility.com is your free advocate for benefit programs. Our website is a repository of easy-to-read information on government programs like Medicare, Social Security Disability, Visas, and more. Check your eligibility with our free tools, or speak with an advocate to help navigate your eligibility and enrollment today.
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