If a person does not enroll in Medicare Part B (out-patient care and doctor visits) when first
eligible, and they do not have health coverage from an employer group health plan,
they will incur a late-enrollment penalty if they later choose to enroll in Medicare Part B.
This is also true if someone has Medicare Part B, but then drops their Part B coverage, and then later decides to sign up again for coverage.
Remember, if a person does not enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B when they were first eligible, and they were not eligible for a
Special Enrollment Period, they can only elect Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B during the
General Enrollment Period
that starts January 1st and continues through March 31 of each year.
The Medicare Part B late-enrollment penalty is 10% of the current Medicare Part B premium for every 12-month
period that the person delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B after they were first eligible or dropped Part B and were without Medicare Part B coverage when they were eligible.
For example, the 2021 standard Medicare Part B premium is $148.50
(for most people), so if a person delays enrolling in Medicare Part B (and has no employer coverage) for 12 months, they will have a 10% penalty of $14.85 in 2021.
You can read more about the most recent changes in Medicare Part B premiums in our Medicare Blog.
The Medicare Part B penalty is permanent
and will be paid for as long as the person has Medicare Part B coverage.
that a person may be excluded from paying a Medicare Part B late-enrollment penalty if they meet certain
conditions allowing them to sign up for Medicare Part B during a Special
Enrollment Period (for example, as noted by Medicare, a person will have an 8-month Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare Part A
and/or Medicare Part B starting the month after the employment ends or the
group health plan insurance based on current employment ends, whichever
Examples of the Medicare Part B late-enrollment penalty provided by Medicare
"Your Initial Enrollment Period ended September 30, 2009. You waited to
sign up for Medicare Part B until the General Enrollment Period in March 2012.
Your Part B premium penalty is 20%. (While you waited a total of 30
months to sign up, this included only 2 full 12-month periods.) You’ll
have to pay this 20% penalty for as long as you have Medicare Part B coverage."
(Previously found at: https://www.medicare.gov/ your-medicare-costs/ part-b-costs/penalty/ part-b-late-enrollment-penalty.html)
"Your Initial Enrollment Period ended December 2016. You waited to sign up for Part B until March 2019 during the General Enrollment Period. Your coverage starts July 1, 2019. Your Part B premium penalty is 20%, and you’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B. (Even though you weren't covered a total of 27 months, this included only 2 full 12-month periods.)"
(see: https://www.medicare.gov/ your-medicare-costs/ part-b-costs/ part-b-late-enrollment-penalty)
The Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period
A person can enroll in Medicare Part B during their 7-month Initial
Enrollment Period when they first become eligible for Medicare (3 months
before the Medicare eligibility month, plus the month a person turns
65, and including the 3 months after the month a person turns 65). During the 7-month Initial Enrollment Period a person can also enroll in
Medicare Part A, if they were not already automatically enrolled.
You can also learn more about Medicare Part B coverage in our Frequently Asked Questions:
https://q1medicare.com/q1group/ MedicareAdvantagePartDQA/FAQ.php?cat=Medicare-Part-B &category_id=138