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Rep. Porter Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect Older Americans from Surprise Medicare Penalties

Congresswoman’s legislation would reduce healthcare costs for seniors by capping penalties for delayed Medicare enrollment

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce healthcare costs for older Americans. The Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act, co-led by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), would cap unfair late Medicare enrollment penalties levied on seniors.

“It doesn’t make sense that we handcuff older Americans to higher healthcare costs indefinitely just for delaying enrollment in the Medicare program,” Congresswoman Porter said. “This penalty burdens hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families, including many Americans who didn’t realize that deferral subjects them to higher healthcare costs for the rest of their lives. I’m proud to introduce common-sense legislation to better protect our seniors from unfair medical costs.”

Under current law, Americans have three months to enroll in Medicare once they turn 65. If an individual defers enrollment, they pay a late enrollment penalty of 10% of the standard monthly premium for each year enrollment is delayed. Americans who delay enrollment because they are covered by their employer do not incur such a penalty, but beneficiaries who leave their jobs and maintain their insurance through COBRA are penalized. 

Porter and Herrera Beutler’s Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act would cap the Medicare Part B Late Enrollment Penalty at 15% of the standard monthly premium and limit how long the penalty can be applied for. Their bill would also lift penalties for COBRA and Veterans Affairs (VA) enrollees who delay Medicare coverage.  

A group of 26 bipartisan members joined as original cosponsors of the legislation. The legislation is endorsed by the AARP, Medicare Rights Center, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and Social Security Works.

Congresswoman Porter has fought tirelessly for better healthcare for Orange County families. Last June, she introduced the Patients Before Profits Act, which holds insurance companies accountable by requiring that they not renegotiate contracts during an ongoing public health crisis. At a Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing last March, she secured a commitment from Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield to make COVID testing free for every American. Prior to the pandemic, she secured protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions in the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019. 

More information on the Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act is available HERE.