Jindal's Efforts Lead to Medicare Penalty Waiver
Administration earlier agreed to include Katrina residents at Jindal's request
Congressman Bobby Jindal (LA-01) today announced that through his efforts, the federal government has agreed to waive the Medicare Part D penalty for individuals in Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Rita. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed in June to the same extension for Hurricane Katrina residents at Congressman Jindal's request, and he worked to get the same waiver for residents impacted by Hurricane Rita.
CMS initially provided all individuals in hurricane impacted areas with a special enrollment period past the initial May 15, 2006 nationwide deadline that gave impacted individuals until December 31, 2006 to enroll or change their Medicare prescription drug plan. However, Louisiana residents residing in disaster areas were subject to a one percent cumulative penalty for each month enrollment was delayed.
"Today's announcement of the Medicare Part D penalty waiver for Hurricane Rita victims is the culmination of many hours of conversations with the Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CMS and Congressional leadership to explain the burden that a penalty would put on individuals who already suffered so much because of last year's hurricanes," Congressman Jindal said. "Too often in the recovery effort, bureaucrats in Washington have forgotten the parishes and residents that were impacted by Hurricane Rita. Hurricane Rita was equally as devastating to those affected, and I urged the Administration to waive the Medicare Part D penalty for these individuals. This is a very important issue to the people in Louisiana who have been focused on rebuilding their lives, instead of meeting arbitrary bureaucratic deadlines."
The waiver is now available to individuals who resided in any ZIP codes declared as meeting the level of "individual assistance" by FEMA at the time of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma last year.