Medicare / Your Medicare Advisor

To Delay Part B or Not? – That Is the Question

part b

Did you know…

You may have the option of delaying your Medicare Part B? The standard Part B premium is $148.50 a month, so this could be a huge savings for you- but there are some things you may want to consider first.

If you are currently working and have coverage through an employer or union, or a spouse’s employer, the number of employees will determine whether you can delay Part B without penalty. If your employer has less than 20 employees, taking Part B when you are first eligible will help you avoid that penalty.

If your employer has more than 20 employees, check with your benefits administrator or HR to make sure you have credible group health coverage. If you do, you may be able to delay your Part B enrollment and will not have to pay a penalty later down the road. Employer coverage through the Marketplace is treated the same as coverage from an employer group health plan.

Now, once your employer or union coverage ends, you will have an 8-month window to sign up for Part B without a penalty, regardless of whether you choose to pick up COBRA. If you decided to pick up COBRA, enroll in Part B  before the enrollment period ends to avoid a gap in coverage.

If you miss your 8-month window to enroll in Part B after ending employment, you will not be able to enroll until the General Enrollment Period, which is January 1- March 31. Moreover, your coverage will not begin until July 1st.

Additionally, if you are eligible for Part A and have Tricare, you will need to enroll in Part B to keep your coverage. However, you may delay your Part B enrollment if you or a spouse are an active-duty service member, or you are the dependent child of one. Once the service member retires, be sure to pick up Part B so you can keep your Tricare without a lapse in coverage.

Also, if you are eligible for Part A and have CHAMPVA, you will need to enroll in Part B to keep your coverage.  If you have VA benefits, you should enroll in Part B when you are first eligible to avoid a penalty and any gaps in coverage. VA Medical benefits are not considered creditable coverage.

Lastly, if you have a plan from the Marketplace or other private insurance, you should enroll in Part B when you are first entitled to so you can avoid penalties and a lapse in coverage. If none of the above-mentioned situations apply to you, you may want to sign up for Part B when you are first eligible.

Part A and B enrollments are administered through the Social Security Administration. If you think you need to apply or still have questions about possible penalties, be sure to contact Social Security. You may call them directly at 1800-772-1213, or your local office to sign up for Original Medicare. There is also an online enrollment option located at SSA.GOV.

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