If I don’t sign up for Part B when first eligible, what happens?
In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B.
Your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Also, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (from January 1 to March 31) to enroll in Part B. Coverage will start July 1 of that year.
See page 11 Publication 11036 Enrolling in Medicare for full details
Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you meet certain conditions that allow you to sign up for Part B during a Special Enrollment Period.
If you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A, and/or Part B. You may also qualify for Extra Help to pay for your Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Your Initial Enrollment Period ended September 30, 2009. You waited to sign up for Part B until the General Enrollment Period in March 2012. Your Part B premium penalty is 20%. (While you waited a total of 30 months to sign up, this included only 2 full 12-month periods.) You’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B.
Here is an example of a Part B penalty:
Jeremy turned 65 in 2011. He did not sign up for Medicare Part B until 2017.
His penalty is:
10% x 6 years = 60
His penalty is thus 60% on top of the premium
0.6 X $134 (2017 Part B premium) = $80.40 penalty
$80.40 + $134= $214.4
Jeremy will pay $214.4 on a monthly basis as his penalty Part B premium. United Medicare Advisors
The New York Times: Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Sign Up For Medicare Part B
[George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero] should have signed up for Medicare Part B three years earlier when he turned 65. By delaying, he had missed the best window — the so-called Initial Enrollment Period — to apply for Part B, which covers much of what we consider health care: doctor visits, tests, injectable drugs (including chemotherapy), ambulances, physical therapy and other non-hospital services. As a result, he has to pay permanently higher premiums, and he had to endure an unsettlingly long period — from December to July — before the coverage actually kicked in. (Span, 10/26)
Related Pages in Part B – Doctors – How to sign up Section
- Employment Coverage vs Medicare Parts A, B & D
- Part B Doctor Visits – Late Enrollment Penalty