Husband Retiring…Why Is He Receiving An 11 Year Part B Penalty?


My husband is finally retiring from the company he has worked at since 1995 and now our Medicare nightmare is beginning.  Jim’s company has changed ownership many times since he turned 65 in 1999 and we can only receive verification paperwork which goes back to 2010, leaving an 11-year gap.

Social Security will not approve our Part B to begin January 1st and has stated that we need to come back and apply again any time from January 1st to March 31st.

Jim is 82 and I am 76 and the Social Security agent said he would have an 110% penalty and I will have a 50% penalty. Why is this so complicated?  No one ever told Jim he needed to have paperwork signed when the company changed ownership.  He has never worked for another company for 22 years. No one in HR will verify because the records only go back to 2010. 

What a mess! Please advise what we should do.  Jean from West U area.


With companies laying off, changing ownership or closing the doors, America needs to know the rules of Medicare.  Many HR managers and their assistants are not aware that employees past 65 need to have the Social Security form #QMB No0938-0787 known as Request for Employment Information which verifies proof of group health care coverage based on current or past employment.

Have the special form signed and retain it in a safe place for when you finally retire and need to apply for Medicare Part B for both yourself and your spouse (if they are also receiving benefits from your company).

Last week, a new client came to the Toni Says office for Medicare consultation and because he reads the column in his local Houston Chronicle paper, he was aware to go back to his past employers (which there were 3 since he turned 65) and have them fill out the form.

He specifically made sure that there was not a gap between these employers.  When he retires next year, he will have his current employer also fill out a form and take all forms to the local Social Security office.

Jean, I would speak with the HR manager and express your concerns.  If these forms have any gaps, then both of you will receive a Part B penalty. You will be enrolled as a General Enrollment Period, but not as a Special Enrollment Period which keeps you from receiving a Part B penalty.               

Medicare Special and General Enrollment Periods are listed below:

  • Special Enrollment Period: Enroll after 65 when delaying Medicare Part B for you and your spouse due to working full time with company benefits. All employers since turning 65 need to sign form.
  • General Enrollment Period: January 1-March 31 is the enrollment period when one who has not enrolled in Part B or cannot receive all employer benefit verification dates from current and/or past employers on the “Request for Employment Information” form since turning 65. During the General Enrollment Period, one can enroll in Medicare Part B, but WILL receive a Part B penalty for each 12-month period that you cannot prove you had employer benefits. The Part B penalty will be for each month you are using Medicare.  Your Medicare Part B will begin July 1st.

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