Medicare Part B

You can sign up for Part B without a penalty any time you have health coverage based on current employment. (COBRA and retiree health coverage don't count as current employer coverage.)
Once your employment (or your employer/union coverage) ends, 3 things happen:
  • You may be able to get COBRA coverage, which continues your health insurance through the employer's plan (in most cases for only 18 months) and probably at a higher cost to you.
  • You have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty, whether or not you choose COBRA. If you don't enroll in Part B during the 8 months after the employment ends:
  • You may have to pay a penalty for as long as you have Part B.
  • You won't be able to enroll until January 1–March 31, and you'll have to wait until July 1 of that year before your coverage begins. This may cause a gap in health care coverage.
  • If you already have COBRA coverage when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA will probably end. If you become eligible for COBRA coverage after you're already enrolled in Medicare, you must be allowed to take the COBRA coverage. It will always be secondary to Medicare (unless you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD))

A late-enrollment premium penalty for a Medicare plan can come as a shock. That’s why it’s important to understand what causes them and how you can avoid them.


The Penalty

If you fail to enroll in Part B during your IEP and don’t have qualified group health plan coverage, your monthly premium may rise 10 percent for each 12-month cycle that you were not enrolled. That means if you waited 24 months (two years) to enroll in Part B after you were able, you may receive a 20-percent penalty on top of your monthly premium for as long as you have the plan. If you drop your Part B plan, only to sign up again later, you may still have the penalty.

Your Income May Affect Your Medicare Premiums

Depending on your income, you can pay anywhere from a standard Part B premium up to $347.00 more a month. With Part D, you may pay up to $76.00 more each month. For both Part B and D, the tiers are the same. Check out the Medicare IRMAA tiers and adjustments here!

Have questions about Medicare?

Ask me about your Medicare options by calling 888-357-1999 or Schedule an Appointment below. A licensed independent insurance agent appointed with multiple carriers will help you make an informed decision. Agent is not connected in any way with the federal or state government or Medicare.

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