October 9, 2017

Government Assistance Continues in Hurricane Aftermath (article)

Special Enrollment Periods for Individuals Impacted by Recent Hurricanes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced special enrollment periods for individuals impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. 

  • Under the Medicare program, hurricane-impacted individuals are allowed special enrollment periods to enroll, dis-enroll or switch Medicare health or prescription drug plans beginning at the start of the incident period through the end of the calendar year. Individuals can contact 1-800-MEDICARE to request enrollment using this special enrollment opportunity.
  • In the federal marketplace, individuals who need to enroll in a 2017 plan or make changes to their existing 2017 plan are eligible for a special enrollment period wherein individuals could apply for coverage during a period of 60 days prior to the incident through December 31, 2017.  Impacted individuals can contact the call center at 1-800-318-2596 to enroll in a plan.

Benefit Plan Assistance

As follow up to last month’s Benefit Beat article relating to Hurricane Harvey, several government agencies including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) are continuing to provide assistance and guidance to assist individuals and businesses affected by the Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 


The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) provides guidance and assistance for both employers and participants:

  • Employers and plan sponsors can obtain guidance on the EBSA Disaster Relief webpage specific to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. 
  • Information relating to retirement and health benefits, including publications, tools and videos for affected workers and their families is available from EBSA’s Disaster Relief webpage, as well as from updated FAQs

In addition, the IRS’ Disaster web page has updated information relating to certain tax filing extensions, including Form 5500, as well as retirement plan loans and hardship distributions. 



The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.   

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