Over 700,000 Are Receiving Medicare Penalties
I desperately need your help! I have just discovered that my mother, who is 67, has never enrolled in Medicare Part B or D. She was under the impression that if she didn’t go to the doctor, she didn’t need to pay the premium because she needs the money to pay for her car payment.
She has a huge problem because she has been diagnosed with colon cancer and she does not have Part B or a Medicare prescription drug plan. I called Social Security to help her enroll in Part B and was informed that she has to wait until January 1 thru March 31 of 2017 (next year) to enroll in Medicare Part B because she has missed her “window of opportunity”. Can you tell me what I can do to help her?
~Thanks, Jeanine from Bellaire, TX
Oh My Jeanine:
Your mother has an extremely serious Medicare issue because the General Enrollment Period for those that never enrolled in Medicare ended on Thursday, March 31st and as the Social Security rep stated your mother will have to wait until next January 1, 2017 to begin her process of enrolling in Medicare Part B. Yes, she will receive a Part B penalty.
She can enroll in Medicare Part D during 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment, which begins Saturday, October 15 of this year and her new Medicare prescription drug plan will begin January 1, 2017. She will not be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan because her Medicare Part B will not go into effect until July 1, 2017, if she enrolls during the 2017 General Enrollment Period.
When your mother, who will be 68, enrolls in Medicare Part B during Medicare’s General Enrollment Period she will receive a Part B penalty which is a 10% penalty for each 12 month period and for her is 30% (3 years times 10%) for as long as your mother could have had Part B, but failed to enroll. This 30% penalty will never go away and remains in effect for the life of the Medicare beneficiary’s Medicare coverage.
The 2016 Medicare Part B standard premium is $121.80; a beneficiary’s premium would increase by $12.18 for each full year one failed to enroll in Part B. Your mother’s penalty will be 12.18X3=$36.54 monthly and this amount changes as Part B premium changes.
The Medicare Part D penalty for 2016 is 1% of national Part D average premium or $.34 for each month you could have enroll in Part D from age 65, but failed to enroll. Her Part D penalty will be .34x36months=$12.24monthly extra and this amount changes as Part D’s premium changes.
Currently, there are over 700,000 Medicare beneficiaries who are receiving a Medicare Part B and/or D penalty costing on average $5,000 in Medicare lifetime penalties because they did not enroll under Medicare enrollment periods.
Medicare enrollment periods are listed below:
- Medicare Initial Enrollment Period: Begins 3 months before turning 65, the month one turns 65and 3 months after one turns 65.
- Special Enrollment Period: Enroll after 65 when delaying Medicare Part B due to working full time with company benefits. This is an 8 month window of signing up for Part B without receiving a Part B penalty.
- General Enrollment Period: January 1-March 31 when one who has not enrolled in Part B and now can enroll in Medicare Part B, but WILL receive a Part B penalty.
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people terms,” which is now on sale on this website. Email questions about Medicare or Social Security or to schedule a workshop to “Ask Toni,” or call 832/519-TONI (8664).