Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Requesting Extension of the Medicare Enrollment Deadline

March 31, 1966

Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)

I would like to commend, for your early consideration, an amendment to the Social Security Act which would extend from March 31 to May 31 the deadline for enrollment in the medical insurance portion of the Social Security health insurance program for the aged.

As you know, the Social Security Administration has conducted an energetic campaign to inform all citizens who are already 65 that they must enroll by March 31 to be eligible for medical insurance coverage, which becomes effective July 1.

The results of this effort have been remarkable. More than 86% of the 19.1 million older people have already signed up; an additional 5% have responded by declining to enroll.

Despite this enormous response, there will be some older citizens who will want to enroll after March 31--because they did not act quickly enough, or because somehow they were not reached with news of this opportunity.

The present law permits enrollment after March 31--if there is good cause for the failure to enroll before the deadline. But under this provision, late enrollees cannot have protection for six months after enrollment.

I believe it would be unfortunate to delay protection to these late enrollees--some of whom are those with the greatest need for medical insurance.

Under my proposal, therefore, those enrolling in April and May would be eligible for protection on July 1 when the program goes into effect.

Enrollment of the remaining eligible citizens between March 31 and June 1 would present no administrative problems; there would still be one month between the deadline and the first payment of benefits.

I have asked the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to transmit to you the appropriate draft language for the amendment. I hope you will give it prompt and sympathetic consideration.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

A bill extending the Medicare enrollment deadline was approved by the President on April 8, 1966 (see Item 168).

On March 6, 1966, the President signed Proclamation 3707 designating March as National Medicare Enrollment Month (2 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 331; 31 F.R. 4191; 3 CFR, 1966 Comp., p. 30).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Requesting Extension of the Medicare Enrollment Deadline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives