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Did you suffer property damage or home loss from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria?
You can partake in a special enrollment period for those in Medicare or who need healthcare, thanks to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
This gives hurricane victims the chance to change their Medicare health plans and get health coverage. That includes Texas (38.42% Latino population), Louisiana (4.72%), Florida (23.72%), Georgia (9.15%), South Carolina (5.32%), Puerto Rico (99%), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (17.13%).
“The lives of millions of Americans have been disrupted and impacted in some way by recent hurricanes,” said CMS leader Seema Verma in a news release. “Setting up special enrollment periods gives … the opportunity to access health coverage during this difficult time and when they need it the most.”
Special Open Enrollment Period
In the new enrollment, people affected by the hurricanes can enroll, dis-enroll or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans.
Also, those were unable to complete their Federal Health Insurance Exchange application, plan selection, and enrollment process due to a hurricane-related weather event in 2017, can select a new plan or make changes to their existing plan.
The new enrollment for these groups period lasts through Dec. 31, 2017.
CMS also will give those who reside in or move from areas affected by a hurricane in 2017 a special healthcare enrollment period that extends the 2018 Annual Open Enrollment Period through December 31, 2017.
Contact 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-318-2596 to enroll in a plan.
“We remain committed to doing all we can to help support the areas and individuals affected by these historic and catastrophic hurricanes,” Verma said.
The Importance of Health Coverage for Latinos
The special enrollment period is important for Latinos.
Latinos are still the largest uninsured population in the country, even after strong gains thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Medicare, meanwhile, provides health coverage for most Americans once they reach age 65. It currently covers the healthcare costs of more than 4 million Latinos.
Read more here about the special enrollment periods for Medicare.