Smucker Introduces First Bill in U.S. House
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) today introduced his first bill in the U.S. House, setting out to lower health care costs for seniors across Pennsylvania and the country.
Today, a senior who chooses to maintain their employer-sponsored health care plan through COBRA coverage, instead of Medicare, faces a lifetime late-enrollment penalty on their future Medicare plan. Rep. Smucker’s Seniors’ Health Care Choice Act of 2017 would end this lifetime penalty, providing seniors the flexibility to enroll in Medicare at a time that best fits their needs, without the threat of a burdensome and unnecessary financial penalty.
“I am committed to finding ways we can lower health insurance costs for everyone. This is just one commonsense effort to make health care more affordable for Pennsylvania’s seniors,” said Rep. Smucker. “Seniors should be able to make their own choices and enroll in Medicare at an age that makes sense for themselves, not one set by the federal government. I will work to secure support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and look forward to moving this bill on the House floor.”
Today, many Pennsylvanians work past the traditional retirement age of 65, and opt to keep their employer-sponsored health insurance. Additionally, under current law, a retiree can elect to take COBRA coverage for up to 36 months after retiring in order to stay on their employer health plan, providing them with stability and familiarity as they transition into retirement and onto Medicare.
Because of burdensome and confusing regulations, many seniors do not realize they must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 despite already having health care. Seniors working for small businesses (companies with fewer than 20 employees in this case) are particularly impacted as Medicare considers them to take on the “first payer” role on their group health plan. This unfair categorization leaves seniors who did not enroll at age 65 with a lifetime late-enrollment penalty, making their Medicare coverage even more costly.
Rep. Smucker’s Seniors’ Health Care Choice Act of 2017 ends this lifetime enrollment penalty.