May 1, 2021

With the great weather this week nobody even wants to think about Medicare/Medicaid insurance, but here we go anyway.

How long can I wait to enroll in Medicare part B without having to pay a penalty?

You certainly can delay signing up for your part B coverage beyond your 65th birthday for more than one reason, but let’s cover the reason that most people are allowed to delay. If you have credible coverage through your employer or you are covered by your spouse’s insurance that would be one way you would be eligible to delay enrollment into your part B coverage without a late enrollment penalty. If you lose your credible coverage due to losing your job or your spouse loses their credible coverage that covered you too, either of those would trigger the clock to get signed up so you don’t incur a penalty. So whichever of these occurred first, the month after the employment ends, or the month after the group health plan insurance based on current employment ends. You have eight months to get signed up for part B without penalty if one of the previous things happens to you and you are 65 or older and find yourself without any credible coverage.

If you are beyond that window, then you could be subject to a 10% penalty that will be added to your part B premium for each full 12 month period you are without credible coverage and not enrolled in part B. For example, if you were beyond the window by 27 months, you would incur a 20% penalty each and every month. This penalty would be added to your part B premium and usually will not go away.

The only way to get the penalty waived would be to ask for a correction and that is known as requesting equitable relief. To request equitable relief, you must have failed to enroll in Medicare due to the error, misrepresentation, or inaction of a federal employee, such as a Social Security or 1-800-MEDICARE representative. Equitable relief does not apply if you were misinformed about your Medicare rights and options by non-federal employees, such as an employer. This is one of the many reasons you want to make sure that the person you are working with when looking to add to your Medicare part A and part B actually know what they are talking about so they can help guide you to do this correctly.

As long as you guys keep asking questions I will keep answering them for you. I look forward to your questions for next week, until then stay safe and stay informed.
Nick Swearngin
Licensed Sales Representative