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On January 21, 2020, the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Education & Labor Committees sent a letter to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) asking the “agencies to address the confusion and financial risks that often confront Americans who are Medicare-eligible and receive coverage under a group health plan subject to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).”  See the press release issued by the Energy & Commerce Committee here.

Due to the complex rules surrounding Medicare secondary payment, coordination of benefits, and Part B enrollment, coupled with a lack of adequate information provided to former employees who choose to take COBRA coverage when they are eligible (or near eligibility) for Medicare, such individuals often face “unexpected penalties and unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses” (see, e.g., Alerts the Center wrote in November 2015 about problems arising surrounding the interaction between COBRA and Medicare: parts I, II and III).

The Committees called on the federal agencies to “develop a strategy that effectively addresses the issue and to produce informative and clear communications for affected Americans.” The Center for Medicare Advocacy strongly supports this effort.

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