Home » FEMA Emergency – Medicare Special Enrollment Period

FEMA Emergency – Medicare Special Enrollment Period

Know when it is a valid election session. The FEMA SEP Medicare will explain when a FEM Special Enrollment Period status can be used for making a plan change and see which states have the election.


FEMA is the acronym that stands for the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency will declare an emergency when there is a natural calamity, strange events beyond the control of the government or the civil society, or an uncontrollable pandemic situation.

The emergency declaration by FEMA will let Medicare take stock of the situation and absorb the fact that the crisis hits you. As a result of the declared reasons, you won’t be able to enroll for the Medicare Advantage program or the specific Medicare prescription drug plan.

The overcome the stand-alone situation; Medicare offers Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). You can join a Federal Health insurance program during Medicare Special Admission Session without meeting the regular registration parameters, subject to your eligibility. In typical situations, you can join the Medicare prescription treatment proposal or the Medicare Advantage proposal during the open window session.

Who can use the FEMA special joining period Medicare Special Election?

Eligible people living in a FEMA emergency declared county or hit with a major disaster may be entitled to a special election session. You can get the stand-alone situation confirmed by visiting the FEMA website and finding out if any notification has been published in this regard.

How long does the election session last?

Once FEMA declares an emergency, the specific election time will remain valid for two months. The duration of the declaration will be published on the website of FEMA.

People eligible for Special Registration Time can change their Advantage policy or Part D or transfer from one program to another.  Such changes will be effective from the 1st day of the following month.

What to mark on the application?

At the time of applying, the prospective insurer needs to write down a specific election session.  You can find a designated column/space to mark the reason for the special joining session election. You can observe the reason for the election as per the FEMA emergency or government weather disasters. If the application does not have a section to mark the cause, then you can score off the special joining session box, and in the remarks area, write “FEMA disaster.”

What coverage changes can you make during a Medicare SEP?

From the date of the FEMA emergency declaration, Federal Health Insurance Special Registration Session might remain open for four months.

During a Medicare SEP, you can make the following change:

  • To enroll for a Medicare Advantage policy.
  • Change between Medicare Advantage proposals.
  • Exit from Medicare Advantage policy and rejoin to the Original Medicare (Parts A&B).
  • Register for a unique Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Change Medicare prescription drug proposals.
  • Relinquish the Medicare prescription drug plan.

You can register for a unique Federal Health Insurance prescription drug policy during the Medicare SEP if you exit from the Medicare Advantage proposal and rejoin the Original Medicare plan.

What are the general rules for a Medicare SEP?

The following are the general rules to qualify for Medical SEP if a FEMA emergency becomes effective:

  • At the beginning of the FEMA emergency declaration, you must have lived in that particular state or country or lived in a state or country where FEMA has declared the emergency.
  • During the FEMA emergency, there should be an election session in force.
  • If an emergency is in force during an election time, you won’t be able to sign up for a Federal Health Insurance proposal or shift between other Medicare plans.

If you live out of the FEMA emergency declared area, you may become eligible for the Federal Health Insurance mentioned above Special Joining Session by depending on your close relative’s healthcare policies. But the person who is going to help you should live in the emergency declared area.

You should not wait for too much time to decide if you feel that you are eligible for a FEMA emergency Medicare special registration date. It has minimal provisions to let you enroll for the Medicare proposals.

The following situations will be applicable for availing FEMA emergency Medicare SEP:

  • If you have already utilized a Federal Health Insurance registration date to change the medical coverage during the FEMA emergency session, you don’t become eligible for the Medicare special registration session.
  • The Federal Health Insurance SEP applies only for Medicare Benefit plans, including other Federal health plans and Medicare prescription drug proposals.

How does Special Enrolment Period handle complex issues?

People hit with complex issues like pandemic COVID-19 are eligible for another SEP. FEMA has declared COVID-19 as a national emergency, and if you have missed a qualified stand-alone special registration date deadline due to the pandemic infection or any of your family members got infected and that had hindered your job, and as a result, it created with an uncertain condition on your job-based coverage, you may become eligible for another special registration date.

People can open an account with HealthCare.gov and check if they qualify for the SEP. This facility is available for people who lost health coverage and missed the opportunity to enroll in the Federal Health Insurance proposal.  People who have an account with HealthCare.gov can log in and file for their application.

During the process, you may need to submit the documents to substantiate the loss of health coverage.  The documents must establish the loss of coverage that happened within the past 60 days or more than 60 days starting from 1st January 2020.

How does the SEP work with a hurricane or other natural disasters?

People who become qualified to register in Marketplace coverage during Open Enrollment or a special registration session but could not register due to a hurricane-like natural disaster may become eligible for another special joining session. For qualifying the facility, the claimants must live in a disaster-hit county to apply for “individual assistance” or “public assistance” by FEMA. If you become qualified, you will have 60 days from the last date the FEMA declared an emergency and apply for a retroactive beginning date for the health coverage had you not been hit with the disaster.

People who become qualified for SEP can also join in a private health plan through the Marketplace.

The following are the conditions that may make you qualified for Special Enrollment Period:

  • A qualifying event like getting married, expecting-mother, or having a baby, or losing minimal essential coverage.
  • You failed to select an insurance proposal due to the COVID-19 emergency even though you applied by 15th August 2020.

Other severe issues that may let you qualify for Special Registration Period:

  • Unusual circumstances.
  • Plan information or Marketplace registration display error.
  • You become ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
  • By becoming dependent due to child support or other court order.
  • You become subject to domestic violence or spousal abandonment.
  • Getting a favorable appeal decision.
  • You currently live or have lived in a place where there is no Medicaid, and you become eligible for the first time for a Marketplace insurance proposal.

What happens to people who miss the chance to register for Medicare benefits because of a disaster?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will run a unique registration scheme for people hit with natural calamities or severe catastrophes who are willing to join or relinquish or shift to other Medicare or prescription drug health proposals or missed the registration opportunity. The special registration will be open to people living in the affected county where FEMA declared an emergency or severe disaster.  The particular scheme will be available from the beginning of the incident and will remain effective for 4 continuous months. After receiving the registration request, the Federal Health Insurance plan will become effective from the first of the month.

What are the documents required as proof to confirm that you lived in an emergency declared county and qualify for the insurance?

Generally, you don’t need to show any proof to confirm that you lived in an affected county because there are chances that such documents may have been destroyed or you are unable to access them. However, if you have any proof available, you must provide it to FEMA or get an attestation as per the guidelines of FEMA.

It is imperative to know whether you qualify for a Medicare Special Joining Period. You can check on the FEMA website (www.fema.gov/disaster) and also get in touch with the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. The representatives at Marketplace can give you live assistance after evaluating your circumstances and registering for the coverage.

People who have already registered for a Medicare plan and also get a Special Joining session generally can continue in their existing scheme or migrate to other programs. There are also chances that people may get an early coverage date. To get the coverage valid, the insurer must remit the premium before the coverage becomes effective.

Rejected or failed SEP applicants can file an appeal to the Health Insurance Marketplace and get the coverage reinstated to the date when it got rejected. Make sure to submit a copy of the eligibility document along with your application, which will help to process the appeal favorably.