Have you ever enrolled in medicare late, having to pay the late-enrollment fee? More and more people are starting to work later in life, which delays Social Security benefits and prevents them from getting auto-enrolled into medicare.
Recently, a bill in Congress has been introduced to prevent late-enrollment penalties for new Medicare beneficiaries. The federal government would be required to provide detailed information about Medicare enrollment rules before they turn 65, which is the Medicare-eligible age. Some Medicare beneficiaries are automatically enrolled when they reach the age of 65 since they are on Social Security, however, that is not always the case.
The amount of older people who aren’t auto-enrolled into Medicare has increased over time according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report. 40% of eligible individuals had to actively enroll in Medicare at age 65 in 2016 compared to only 8% in 2002.
There are no late-enrollment penalties for Medicare Part A, the same can’t be said for signing up late for Part B. The penalty is 10% of the standard Part B premium for each 12 months that you should have been enrolled into Medicare but were not. This penalty is life-lasting and can also increase each year as the Part B premiums are adjusted annually.
Part of the problem of Part B penalties is that Medicare enrollment rules can be confusing and misunderstood. For example, although you can delay your enrollment in Part B at age 65 if you have qualifying insurance elsewhere such as through your employer, you still have to take into account the deadlines once that coverage ends if you want to avoid late-enrollment fees.
There is a possibility that you can appeal these penalty charges, although the late-enrollment mistake must be due to someone in the government that provided inaccurate information.
In addition, Part D prescription drug plan also comes with a late-enrollment penalty which is 1% of the national base premium ($33.37 in 2022) multiplied by the number of months you didn’t have Part D coverage.
The new Senate bill states that information on rules for Medicare enrollment will be included on Social Security statements beginning at age 60 so that future Medicare beneficiaries will be educated about the responsibilities of signing up for Medicare.
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