Medicare Moments with Toni King
Jeanie’s mother is 67 and was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. When she turned 65, she enrolled in Medicare Part A, but not B or D. Jeanie’s mother didn’t think it was necessary to pay for Parts B and D because she hardly ever went to the doctor, and she would have rather used the ‘savings’ on her car payment. Unfortunately, she needs that coverage now, but a call to Social Security informed Jeanie that she missed her “window of opportunity” to enroll in Medicare Part B this year. Her mother will have to wait until January 1 of next year to enroll. Now, what!?
Here’s my response to Jeanie, her mom, and the thousands of other Boomers out there who need to know Medicare’s rules.
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. Your mother has an extremely serious Medicare issue because the General Enrollment Period for those that never enrolled in Medicare ended on March 3; as the Social Security rep stated, your mother will have to wait until next January 1 to begin her process of enrolling in Medicare Part B. And, it looks like your mother will be joining that group because she will receive a Part B penalty.
She can enroll in Medicare Part D during Medicare Open Enrollment, which begins October 15 of this year – and her prescription drug plan will begin January 1 of the following year.
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 of the next year if she enrolls during the upcoming General Enrollment Period. When your mother, who will be 68 at the time, enrolls in Medicare Part B during Medicare’s General Enrollment Period, she will receive a Part B penalty which is 10% for each 12-month period that she did not have Part B (in this case, her penalty will be 30%; 10% times 3 years). This penalty will never go away.
The Medicare Part D penalty is 1% of the national Part D average premium and this also changes each year for each month you could have enrolled in Part D from age 65 but did not (in this case, her penalty will be that specific Part D 1% penalty times 36 months).
Related: Medicare Part D Penalty Costs WHAT?
America needs to be educated on enrolling in Medicare!
Most people think that when they turn 65, a magical switch is turned on, and, poof! You’re on Medicare! This is not true!
Medicare changed the rules during the Clinton administration when it extended the time for receiving 100% of your Social Security benefits. To receive your Medicare card on time depends on whether you are receiving your Social Security check. Receiving your Social Security check is your ticket to Medicare. It starts the process for you to reive Medicare benefits and your Medicare card. Social Security does all of the paperwork for Medicare – and for those turning 65, Social Security wants you to enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/benefits/medicare.
How to Receive Medicare at the Right Time
- Turning 65 and receiving your Social Security check is the easiest way to receive your card. Medicare will send you a “Welcome to Medicare” kit 90 days before you turn 65, with your Medicare card in the kit. If you do not receive it, then go to Social Security and find out where your card is!
Remember, Social Security processes all the paperwork for Medicare!
- Turning 65 and NOT receiving a Social Security check – because you are still working or may not be working but are waiting past 65 to receive 100% of your Social Security – then, contact Social Security 90 days before you turn 65. It takes them 90 days to do the paperwork and if you wait until you have turned 65, then you will only have Medicare Part A benefits and not Part B.
Always check with human resources if you are delaying Part B. Many health insurance carriers are changing their rules regarding Part B and may require you to enroll in Medicare.
Medicare’s Enrollment Periods
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Begins 3 months before turning 65 and lasts through the 3 months after you turn 65.
Here is what’s confusing about Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period. There is a term called the enrollment effective date schedule, which is not mentioned in the Medicare and You Handbook. The handbook, under Initial Enrollment Period, states, “if you enroll in Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65 or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, the start date for your Medicare coverage will be delayed.” The effective date schedule is the 7-month period which occurs 3 months before turning 65 and 3 months after turning 65.
Effective Date Schedule
- Enrolling any time 3 months before turning 65 – your Medicare begins the first day of the month you turn 65
- Enrolling the month you turn 65 – Medicare Part B will begin 1 month after you sign up
- Enrolling 1 month after you turn 65 – your Medicare Part B will begin 2 months after you sign up
- Enrolling 2 months after you turn 65 – your Medicare Part B will begin 3 months after you sign up
- Enrolling 3 months after you turn 65 – your Medicare will begin 3 months after you sign up
Special Enrollment Period
Enrolling 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.
If you are turning 65 and still working, talk to your employer’s human resources. Ask if you need to enroll in Part B. If you do not need Part B because you are still working or your spouse is still working, then call Social Security to delay Part B. Let them know that you have creditable coverage with your group plan. You will receive your Medicare card with Part A (hospital insurance) only. See the Medicare and You Handbook about delaying part B.
Still working are magic words when it comes to enrolling past 65 and losing your or your spouse’s company benefits.
The Medicare and You Handbook discusses under the title, “Should I Enroll in Part B?” about delaying Medicare Part B when you are leaving your or your spouse’s group benefits and that you can sign up for Part B “any time during the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first.”
Part B needs to be enrolled prior to either enrolling in COBRA or retirement group benefits because of the continuation of coverage rules that wants to coordinate with Medicare. No Medicare Parts A or B and you have 8 months to enroll without receiving the famous Medicare Part B penalty.
How to Enroll in Medicare Part B & Avoid Penalties, If You Have Delayed
There are 2 forms available on Social Security’s website. On the top of each form, write SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD. This tells the Social Security agent that is processing them that you are signing up at the right time and keeps them from giving you a penalty.
CMS L-564, Request for Employment Information
Proof of group health care coverage based on current employment. If you have had 2 or more jobs since turning 65, then all companies you or your spouse have worked for from age 65 to the time of retirement, then sign this form. If you are married, you will need the same number of forms filled out for your non-working spouse and signed by the companies’ HR departments for which you or your spouse have worked, proving the non-working spouse was covered under group health insurance. On the top of each form, write SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD.
CMS 40B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B
This is your and your spouse’s application for medical insurance from Medicare Part B. Social Security fills out this form. Also, on the top of each form, write SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD.
Take forms in person to your local Social Security office, fax them to the office, or send them by priority mail.
Toni Says: Remember to always make copies of everything you are taking in person or sending to Social Security!
Medicare Survival Guide Advanced Edition
What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You!
Turning 65 in America is a milestone and one of the markers is enrolling in Medicare. But the system is so complicated, and there is a lot of false information out there.
In Toni King’s Medicare Survival Guide Advanced: Basics and Beyond, Toni gives you the critical steps you need to enroll in Medicare properly. Toni shares various situations that she has experienced with her many clients during Medicare consultations, and gives you the information and tools you need to enroll on time to avoid the “famous” Medicare Part B and D penalties.
Medicare Survival Guide Advanced helps you understand Medicare step by step…
Learn How to Enroll the Correct Way
• Still Working Past 65
• Turning 65
• VA Benefits
• Laid-off or Retiring
What Medicare Option Is Best for You
• Medicare Supplement vs. Advantage
• Losing Retirement Benefits
How to Avoid
• The Donut Hole
• Part B Penalties
• Part D IRMAA Penalties
If you are enrolling in Medicare and are confused by the commercials and telemarketers, or from the information that well-meaning friends or family members give, let Toni guide you through the maze of Medicare. Preorder TODAY!