Medicare Special Enrollment Period for Residents Impacted by Recent Fire and Tornadoes in East Tennessee

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability announced last Friday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has granted the Commission’s request to have a Special Enrollment Period to assist those Medicare beneficiaries affected by the recent wildfires and tornadoes in East Tennessee.

The regular Open Enrollment Period for Medicare enrollees to select their prescription drug plan under Part D ran from October 15 until December 7. With the recent disasters impacting so many people, CMS agreed to extend that selection period for those impacted by the events until January 1, 2017.

Individuals affected by the recent events who were unable to make a plan selection by December 7 can still enroll in Medicare health and prescription drug coverage for 2017 by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Representatives at 1-800 MEDICARE have information available to help beneficiaries request an enrollment. If you need free assistance in comparing health and prescription drug coverage, you can also contact the Tennessee SHIP line (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) at 1-877-801-0044.

CMS understands that many Medicare beneficiaries have been affected by the wildfire and tornado outbreaks and wanted to ensure that all beneficiaries are able to compare their options and make enrollment choices for 2017. Affected individuals do not have to show proof that they live in an area affected by the wildfire or the recent tornadoes.

This opportunity to enroll in a plan by January 1, 2017 applies to all individuals who were affected by these events, including those individuals who may not live in the affected area but rely on help in making healthcare decisions from friends or family members who do live in the affected areas. - See more at:

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