New Sinema-Backed Bill Aims to Prevent Medicare Late Enrollment Fees for Arizona Seniors

Feb 18, 2022

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the BENES 2.0 Act – bipartisan legislation educating Arizona seniors and increasing advance notice about approaching Medicare eligibility to prevent Arizonans from paying a lifetime of late enrollment fees for Medicare Part B.
“Our bipartisan plan protects Arizona seniors from costly and harmful fees by expanding education, awareness, and notice about Medicare eligibility so Arizona seniors can sign up on time,” said Sinema.
Complex Medicare enrollment rules cause tens of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities to face lifetime fines, coverage gaps, and other harmful consequences. Currently, Arizona seniors may enroll in Medicare Part B three months before and three months after their 65th birthday month. If they miss this window, they must pay late enrollment fees for the rest of their lives. Sinema’s BENES 2.0 Act specifically directs Medicare to provide advance notice to individuals aged 60 to 65 about basic Medicare enrollment rules and benefits to ensure they are prepared to sign up for Medicare and provide helpful information for older adults and individuals with disabilities so they can avoid future penalties. Sinema cosponsored the original Benes Act in the 116th Congress – key provisions of this bill on Medicare enrollment simplification were passed into law at the end of 2020.
In October 2021, Sinema introduced with Republican Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (Kan.) and John Thune (S.D.) the bipartisan Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act – legislation which would streamline and standardize Medicare Advantage’s prior authorization process to ensure timely, quality care for Arizona seniors.