Good Day, Toni:
We saw your answer about Medicare Part B in an article online and our situation is different. My wife and I have recently turned 65, me this May and Carol July 8th. We have signed up for Medicare Part A only.
I retired 2 years ago with fantastic retiree benefits for both me and my wife. Currently, I am self-employed and paid as a 1099 contract worker, but I do not have health benefits from that company.
We do not see a need to sign up for Medicare Part B because we are covered under an existing employer retiree plan. Are we correct in this assumption of not enrolling in Part B. Neither the HR department nor Medicare can give us a straight answer.
When do you advise us to sign up for Part B? Thanks, Richard and Carol from Alexander, VA
Hello Richard and Carol:
Great Medicare question… I would advise you to enroll in Part B NOW!! I did a Medicare consultation for a person that is also self-employed, but was given wrong advice from a well-meaning friend about delaying his Part B. His Medicare nightmare is now starting…
Medicare recognizes true company and union health plans with the Medicare recipient working full time for that company for one to delay Part B for the working and non-working spouse.
On page 26 of the 2015 Medicare and You Handbook states “COBRA and retiree health coverage do not count as current employer coverage”. Individual health plans also are not current employer coverage for those that are self-employed.
The self employed fellow that I consulted with is now 66 and will receive a 10% penalty for each year due to not enrolling in Part B at the right time. His penalty will be 20% penalty (2 years 65 and 66) each month for as long as he is on Medicare. The 20% penalty will increase as the Part B premium increases.
Now is your Medicare “Initial Enrollment Period” which is a 7 month period that begins when you turn 65. You and your wife have 3 months before turning 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 months after to enroll in Parts A and B keeping from receiving the Part B 10% penalty for each 12 month period which you could have had Part B, but failed to enroll.
I advise anyone who contacts me for Medicare consultation to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when you are “not working fulltime” for a company. Not working full time with true company benefits is what Medicare looks for to keep for giving you the 10% Part B penalty.
Enroll in Medicare the correct way when you are turning 65 or after 65 retiring from your company because you do not get a second chance. I didn’t know is not a good excuse for Medicare!
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com Email questions or to schedule a “Confused about Medicare Workshop” to www.tonisays.com/ask-toni or call 832/519-TONI (8664).