Under section 125 of P.L. 97-248, U.S. merchant seamen who were disadvantaged by the
closure of U.S. Public Health Hospitals in 1981 were granted a SMI enrollment period
from 10/1/82 through 12/31/82.
During these 3 months ONLY, eligible U.S. merchant seamen who submitted evidence that
they were eligible for care at the U.S. Public Health Hospitals at any time during
the period 3/10/81 through 9/30/81 were given special privileges regarding SMI enrollment
and premium penalties (and Premium-HI, as well, if that was an issue).
These special rights permitted those who did not have SMI to enroll and elect as the
month of entitlement either the month after the month of enrollment, or 10/81. If
already enrolled in SMI but with a month of entitlement later than 10/81, the month
of entitlement could be changed to 10/81. Any premium penalty resulting from enrollment
after the IEP was rolled back to the base rate with the later of 10/81 or the month
of entitlement to SMI.