Ahh, Medicare. Its complexity is what makes it so wonderful and yet so, well, confusing.

Today, we hope to help break down any confusion around Medicare Part B.

A large majority of folks wait around for a letter to tell them if they need to sign up. We hate to be the ones to break this to you but, there is no letter. So will you be automatically enrolled? Or will you need to sign up on your own?

You will be automatically enrolled if:

  • You’ll receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits for at least 4 months before your 65th
  • You are under the age of 65 and are receiving (or will receive) disability benefits. Important to note, most people qualify after being on Social Security disability income benefits for 24 months. On the 25th month, you would become eligible.
  • You have Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)

You should sign up if:

  • You won’t be receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits for at least 4 months before your 65th You should enroll in Part A and B on your own.
  • You have End-Stage Renal Disease.

Should I sign up for Medicare Part B when I turn 65?

Part B is not premium-free like Part A. Most people will pay a monthly premium based on their income. The only exception is for people with very low incomes who qualify for Medicaid. Because there is a cost associated with it, many people question whether or not they truly need it and if they do, can they delay? Here’s the thing. There are penalties for not signing up in the appropriate time frame.

Unless you are going to have creditable employer coverage yourself or through your spouse – you will want to sign up for Part B at the same time as Part A to avoid penalties.

What are the penalties if I don’t sign up at 65?

  • You will only be able to enroll for your coverage in Medicare’s general enrollment period (GEP). This is a yearly window of time from January 1st through March 31st. However, coverage won’t begin until July of that year, leaving you uncovered for large periods of time.
  • You will incur a life-long penalty (or for however long you have Medicare) of an additional 10% added to your monthly premium for every year you did not have creditable coverage but were eligible for Medicare.

Should you work with an expert?

Yes! It’s always a good idea to work with a professional who has your best interest in mind. We’ve helped thousands of folks, just like you, compare plans and see what plan they qualify for. This service is free and one we take very seriously. Let us help you find what you’re looking for.