Not Signing Up for Medicare Part B? You May be Headed for a Penalty

Learn about the penalty associated with not enrolling in Medicare Part B when eligible.

Even though I said we’d be talking about Part D this week, I just wanted to add a bit more on Part B and the potential penalty for not signing up when eligible.

What is the Part B late enrollment penalty? If you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, (see the prior post for information on enrollment) you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty that may increase your premium by as much as 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t. Unlike the penalty for Part A, there is no end to the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty. You will carry this penalty for as long as you have Medicare Part B.

You may be able to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B without being subject to a late enrollment penalty if you have group health coverage through you or your spouse’s employer or union. You may then qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B and avoid a late penalty.

It’s important to note that if you are covered by a COBRA or a retiree health plan, this is not considered to be coverage based on employment.  As a result, you will not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and you must sign up for Medicare when you are eligible to avoid paying a higher premium.

For more information on the late enrollment penalty, review the 2013 Medicare & You booklet that can be found on the Medicare.gov website:  http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

 

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