CMS Announces Special Election Period in California and Minnesota

  • Originally published December 5, 2018 , last updated December 11, 2018
  • Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced an extension for Medicare beneficiaries who were prevented from enrolling due to the recent wildfires in California, as well as for beneficiaries losing their existing Cost plans in the state of Minnesota. 

Beneficiaries in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties are eligible for an extension to the Emergency and Major Disaster Special Election Period (SEP).

Beginning on Dec. 8 — the end of the Annual Election Period (AEP) — eligible individuals can enroll or switch MA/MAPD plans through Mar. 31, 2019. Enrollments are effective the first of the month after the plan receives the enrollment request.

Only those beneficiaries who did not make an election during AEP are eligible for the extension. Since the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) will happen at the same time as the SEP, the SEP should be used first. If the beneficiary uses the OEP first, they will not be eligible for the SEP. If they use the SEP first, then the OEP is still available if they change their mind about their election.

Also beginning Dec. 8, beneficiaries in Minnesota losing their Cost plans will be eligible for an SEP where they have until month’s end to buy replacement coverage that takes effect Jan. 1. Enrollment options stretch into March, 2019. Here is a useful fact sheet on the Medicare Cost Plan transition happening in Minnesota. 

Agents contracted in California and Minnesota can call the Medicare Advantage Dept. to learn how to best help affected clients in California. Call a Marketing Consultant at 1.877.645.0147.