NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer took a trip to New Rochelle on Thursday to announce new legislation simplifying Medicare enrollment for seniors.
On Thursday afternoon, Schumer was joined by several local dignitaries at the Hugh A. Doyle Senior Center to announce the legislation, which will require the federal government to notify seniors of their eligibility to enroll in Medicare six months before the initial enrollment period.
Currently, seniors who do not apply for Medicare within the initial enrollment period are forced to pay lifetime fees and penalties that sometimes leaves seniors waiting for more than year before they can re-enroll.
Schumer said that he is hopeful his fellow politicians well support his Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act.
“It may sound simple, but this notice is so much more than a reminder - it’s a lifeline,” he said. “Millions of seniors and people with disabilities in New York - and tens of thousands in Westchester and Rockland alone - rely on their Medicare benefits to lead decent, independent healthy lives.
“Unfortunately, Medicare’s current rules are so convoluted that many seniors are at risk of facing critical gaps in coverage when they could desperately need these benefits, or face exorbitant, lifetime penalties that could negatively impact their quality of life.”
According to the Medicare Rights Center, the federal government currently does not provide any warning to people nearing the age of 65 that must actively enroll in Medicare.
“Retirees and those nearing retirement deserve the hard-earned benefits they were promised by the federal government,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson added. “Sen. Schumer’s common-sense legislation would protect seniors in New Rochelle and across Westchester County from coverage gaps and penalties.”