About April 1977, the DoD was forced, due to a shortage of physicians, to reduce or
eliminate medical services for military retirees and dependents at a number of military
hospitals and installations. Many of these people, though eligible for SMI, had not
enrolled because they could obtain free medical treatment at a base hospital.
When military medical care was curtailed, some individuals sought to enroll in SMI,
but could not because the 1977 GEP expired before DoD announced the curtailment.
The Government's failure to notify these retirees and dependents of the impending
curtailment of health services in time to enroll in the 1977 GEP resulted in severe
hardship, potentially depriving them of health insurance for many months. This constituted
a basis for equitable relief.
Military retirees or dependents who relied on military base hospitals for health care
or medical services were treated essentially as if they had enrolled during the 1977
GEP, provided they enrolled before 7/78. Also, no months elapsing after the end of
the 1977 GEP were counted in determining the premium for late filing under HI 01001.010.
SMI began the month the individual enrolled or, if he/she paid the retroactive premiums,