I am having a huge problem with my Medicare because I did not enroll in Part B at the correct time.

            I am 70 years old and 2 years ago was laid off from my job of 30+ years.  A misguided friend advised me that I did not need to enroll in Part B of Medicare because I had COBRA, but that person was terribly wrong.  I waited too long to enroll in Part B.

            I am told by Social Security that I can enrolled in Part B, but not until January 0f 2015.

            To make matters worse, I fell this July 5th and broke my leg in 3 places; $64,300 later I find out that since I do not have Part B I have to pay 100% of the doctor bills, orthopedic surgeon bills and now all of the rehab cost for the next 6 months until I can learn to walk all over again. There goes my retirement nest egg!!
I would like to meet with you and discuss my options.  I have no idea of what to do or where to start. Thank you, Alex from The Woodlands, TX


Hello Alex:

The exasperating rules of Medicare is the reason why I wrote the Medicare Survival Guide…Because it is WHAT you DON”T know that will HURT you!!  Don’tfollow the rules properly or the way Medicare wants; then guess who pays more…You do!!

I want those reading to know how important it is to be sure you are enrolled in Part B when you are leaving your job, especially those enrolling in COBRA.

When turning 65 enroll in Part B at least 90 days prior to your 65th birthday if you or your spouse are not working full-time. “Is still working” full-time with true company benefits (not an individual plan) are what Medicare is searching for to keep from giving you the Part B penalty.

Those past 65 and 90 days, when you leave your job and enroll in COBRA, I always advise everyone that I consult with to have Part B in place as soon as you can or at least the month your COBRA is starting.

Medicare does give everyone an 8 month window to enroll in Part B when leaving your employment with “true” company benefits.

If you wait longer than 8 months as you have Alex, then you are subject to the Part B 10% penalty for each year or 12 month period, you could have had Part B which goes all the way back to the day you turned 65.  If that is 5 years like in your situation, the penalty will be 50% on top of the Part B premium.  This penalty last forever or as long as you are on Medicare.

Anyone who does not enroll in Part B, when they were first eligible, can only enroll in Part B from January 1-March 31 and the Part B will begin on July 1st, just like yours has.             Confusing isn’t it.  I don’t know why they (Medicare) cannot make this simpler, but that is Washington for you!

People need to understand that Medicare is not a cookie cutter situation and one size does not fit everyone’s Medicare health insurance needs.

Confused about Medicare and Social Security workshops –are on a vacation until after Labor Day when various Medicare/Social Security workshops will be held throughout the city.  Medicare’s Open Enrollment begins Wednesday October 15th and will end on Sunday December 7th.  Stay tuned for the updates on future workshops or visit for fall workshops.

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide explaining Medicare is on sale at Email questions to or call 832/519-TONI (8664).

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