Date: April 8, 2022
President Signs H.R. 3076, the
“Postal Service Reform Act of 2022”
On April 6, 2022, the President signed H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, which became Public Law 117-108. This law establishes a new health benefits program for United States Postal Service (USPS) employees, annuitants, and the family members of employees and annuitants, and the family members of employees and annuitants. The law also makes other changes related to USPS’s financing and operations.
In order to participate in the new USPS health benefits program, annuitants and family members who are entitled to premium-free Medicare Part A generally need to be enrolled in Part B as well. Certain annuitants and family members would be exempt from this requirement (for example, annuitants or family members covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system).
This law contains the following provisions of interest to the Social Security Administration (SSA):
SEC. 101 Postal Service Health Benefits Program
- Certain annuitants and family members who are, as of January 1, 2024, entitled to premium-free Part A but not enrolled in Part B would be given the opportunity to enroll in Part B via a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This one-time SEP would run from April 2024 through September 2024. People who enroll via this SEP could be subject to Part B late enrollment premium penalties (also called “premium surcharges”); however, those penalties would be paid by the USPS directly to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
- SSA is required to share Medicare enrollment information to:
- help the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and USPS identify the annuitants and family members who may be eligible for the new, one-time SEP; and
- on an ongoing basis, help OPM ensure that the annuitants and family members who are required to be enrolled in Part B (in order to participate in the new USPS health benefits program) are enrolled in Part B;
- SSA is required to assist the USPS in developing a process for handling Medicare inquiries and in creating an outreach/education program that provides information on Medicare to USPS employees and annuitants;
- SSA is appropriated $16,000,000 in FY 2022 for implementing the one-time SEP. These funds remain available until expended; and
- OPM is required, to reimburse SSA for our full costs in providing the Medicare information so OPM can determine whether certain people are enrolled in Part B.