February 18, 2022

Young, Casey Introduce Bill to Help Older Americans and People with Disabilities Sign Up for Medicare

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) 2.0 Act to simplify Medicare enrollment for seniors and people with disabilities. The bill would require the federal government to provide advance notice to people approaching Medicare eligibility about basic Medicare enrollment rules, filling a longstanding gap in education for older adults and people with disabilities. 


“Currently, seniors who miss the sign-up deadline for Medicare Part B face onerous penalties that persist for the rest of their lives,” said Senator Young. “The BENES 2.0 Act will ensure individuals have access to the information necessary to make more informed decisions as they approach Medicare eligibility,” said Senator Young.


“Medicare is one of America’s greatest success stories, but we need to make sure people can make the most of the Medicare benefits they have earned,” said Senator Casey. “That’s why I introduced the bipartisan BENES 2.0 Act to ensure that fewer people miss the deadline to enroll, which can lead to costly lifelong penalties.” 


Individuals who miss their initial Medicare enrollment window may pay lifetime late enrollment penalties. In 2020, about 776,000 people with Medicare were paying a Part B Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) and the average LEP amounted to nearly a 27 percent increase in a beneficiary’s monthly premium.


In December 2020, Congress passed key provisions of the original BENES Act, which updated Medicare enrollment rules to end needless gaps in coverage. The passage of these provisions represent a critical step forward, but more must be done to prevent costly Medicare enrollment penalties and keep more dollars in seniors’ pockets. 


In addition to Senators Young and Casey, the bill is cosponsored by Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).