Editor's Blog

Medicare Penalties and How to Avoid Them

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Part A Penalty

Most people who are eligible for Medicare are entitled to Part A free of cost. If you or your spouse worked, you paid the Medicare tax with the FICA deduction from your paychecks. If you or your spouse did not work long enough, you can still get Part A by paying a premium. If you neglect to get enrolled during your Initial Enrollment Period*, you will have to pay a late penalty premium equal to 10% of the original Part A premium when you do enroll. This late penalty premium will be instated for twice the number of years you were eligible for Part A but neglected to enroll.

*7-month period that begins three months before the month you first become eligible for Medicare (age 65) and ends three months later.

Part B Penalty

If you enroll in Medicare Part B late, you must pay a late penalty premium for as long as you have Part B. This premium goes up 10% for every year that you were eligible for Part B but did not enroll.

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP, you may not have to pay the late penalty premium. If you were still receiving health insurance through your job when you first were eligible for Medicare Part B, you could qualify for an SEP.

Part D Penalty

If you are thinking about enrolling in a Medicare Part D drug plan, you must do so within 3 months of enrolling in Part A and/or Part B. If you enroll after this 3 month period, you will have to pay a late penalty premium.

This penalty is equal to 1% of the average monthly Part D premium (1% of $35.63 in 2017) times the number of months you were late by. This penalty lasts for as long as you have Part D.

 You may qualify for an SEP if you had creditable drug coverage when you turned 65. These creditable plans could be through your spouse’s job, retiree coverage, or coverage through the Veteran’s Administration.

Visit ManhattanLife's Medicare Supplement for plan information.


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