Try to Avoid Medicare Late Enrollment Premium PenaltiesPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Knowing your Initial Enrollment Period deadline and the different Medicare parts before you’re eligible for Medicare may help you to enroll on time and avoid paying penalties on top of your monthly Medicare premium payments. It’s also important to know about different enrollment periods to help avoid a lapse in coverage.
When you become eligible for Medicare, you will need to sign up for Part A, Part B and Part D during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. For example, if you become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up 3 months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and 3 months after you turn 65.
If you didn’t sign up for Part A and/or Part B (for which you must pay premiums) when you were first eligible, you can sign up between January 1–March 31 each year. Your coverage will begin July 1. You may have to pay a higher Part A and/or Part B premium for late enrollment.
However, some people who meet certain requirements may not have to pay a penalty even if they did not sign up when first eligible.
Part A Enrollment Penalties
Most people are eligible for Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D at age 65. Coverage for Part A is usually available without having to pay a monthly premium as long as you or your spouse worked and paid taxes for ten years. If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, then it’s especially important to sign up during your initial enrollment period to avoid a possible 10% penalty on top of your monthly premium. You would have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you were eligible for Part A, but didn’t sign up for it.
Part B Enrollment Penalties
Part B charges a monthly premium. The amount that you pay is based on your income and tax-filing status. You will need to sign up when you are first eligible to avoid an additional 10% of your Part B premium for every 12-month period you were eligible for Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Usually, you will have to pay the monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. You can delay enrollment in Part B without penalty if you quality for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Find out how much you may have to pay if you miss your enrollment deadline with this Part B penalty calculator.
Part D Enrollment Penalties
One way to avoid having to pay Part D penalties is to sign up for a Part D drug plan as soon as you become eligible. Or, you can delay enrolling in Medicare Part D without penalty, but only if you have had other prescription drug coverage at least as good as Medicare. This is known as creditable coverage If it’s been more than 63 days since you’ve had creditable coverage, then the penalty may apply. For each month you delay, you may have to pay an additional 1% of the average premium per month. You will pay that penalty for as long as you’re enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan.
Learning about timely enrollment in Medicare could save you a lot of money later.
For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
Medicare Choices Worksheet: Learn what each Medicare part covers: Medicaremadeclear.com
Signing up for Part B: Special Conditions: Medicare.gov
Special Enrollment Period: Medicare.gov