Ever since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces opened for business in 2014, the Obama administration has worked hard to get Americans to sign up. Yet officials now are telling some older people that they might have too much insurance and should cancel their marketplace policies.
Each month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is sending emails to about 15,000 people with subsidized marketplace coverage. The message arrives a few weeks before their 65th birthday, which is when most become eligible for Medicare.
“In most cases you won’t want to keep your Marketplace plan because once your Medicare coverage starts, you’ll no longer be eligible for any premium tax credits or other cost savings you may be getting,” says the email, which goes to enrollees in the 38 states using the federal HealthCare.gov. “To avoid an unwanted overlap in Marketplace and Medicare coverage . . . tell us you want to end your Marketplace plan.”
And last month, CMS also began mailing letters to people already covered by Medicare as well as enrolled on the marketplace and getting financial assistance. That notice, required under the health-care law, says that they can keep dual coverage — without subsidies — but urges them to discontinue their marketplace policy since in most cases it duplicates their Medicare benefits.
Enrollees who do not follow that advice — and only the individual can terminate marketplace coverage in this situation — will have their subsidies cut. Inaction also means paying back any coverage assistance received after they should have joined Medicare.
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