My husband is a Vietnam Veteran and never enrolled in Medicare Part B because he goes to the VA close to where we live in Michigan for his medical care. He is having to wait for care from the VA for his heart issues and he wants to go to a local cardiologist.
He is 78 years old and retired when he turned 65. Social Security told him that he must pay more to now enroll in Medicare Part B because he never did enroll when he turned 65 in 2009.
Your name was given to us by an AARP rep to help with Robert’s Medicare problem. Is there a way that he can take Part B without having to pay the extra penalty?
I really do not have good news for Robert because he did not enroll in Medicare Part B when he first turned 65 and was no longer working with true employer benefits. The key words are, “still working.” If he enrolls now, during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (ending March 31) he will get the famous Part B late enrollment penalty.
For 2023, the Medicare Part B premium is $164.90 per month. The penalty for late enrollment is the montly premium plus 10% of the premium for each 12-month period not enrolled. You said that Robert turned 65 in 2009, which is 13 years. So, here’s how to calculate:
164.90 + ( .10 x 164.90 ) ( 13 )
164.90 + ( 16.49 ) (13)
164.90 + 214.37
Robert’s total Medicare Part B premium for 2023 will be $379.27 per month (Chapter 1 of the Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition explains the rules of enrolling in Medicare the right way especially for those with Veteran benefits.)
No one can anticipate when they will need to receive healthcare outside of a VA Center. Even if you receive Veteran benefits, you should enroll in Medicare when you turn 65.
Part B covers your outpatient needs, including office visits, surgery, MRIs, chemotherapy, durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs and walkers), and more. Without Part B of Medicare, a person may have to pay 100% out of their pocket for Medicare Part B covered medical care and this care could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I do have some good news. Not enrolling in a Part D prescription plan is another story. Medicare considers the VA as creditable coverage. When you enroll in Part D after age 65, you do not get the late Medicare Part D enrollment penalty. And, guess what? There is NO Part D donut hole when receiving prescriptions from the VA!
Carole, my advice to Robert is to continue to receive his medical care through the VA, since the penalty may cost him an expensive Medicare Part B premium. Given his heart issues (or if he has other health problems), if Robert ever finds the VA drug formulary does not meet his needs, he can investigate Medicare Part D coverage.
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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.
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• Still Working Past 65
• Turning 65
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• Laid-off or Retiring
What Medicare Option Is Best for You
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Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King here!
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