Thursday, March 11, 2010

Delaying Medicare Part B premiums can cause a penalty


The March 2010 AARP Bulletin, on p. 34 (on the “Ask the Experts” column), warns retirees about a trap when enrolling in Medicare Part B. If someone does not enroll when turning 65 and enrolls later, he or she is penalized. The penalty is an extra 10% surcharge for each year of delay of premium payment.

However, if you are covered by a spouse’s medical insurance, you can delay enrollment without penalty. I don’t know if the exemption would penalty would apply for a gay partner covered by a domestic partner’s employment-derived policy, but that sounds like a problem as long as there is a “Defense of Marriage Act” and as long as the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage (so that’s a subtle perk of marriage).

Also, if your state has paid Part B premiums under a long income program and then you join later on your own, you don’t pay the penalty.

Generally, social security recipients have their Part B premiums deducted from their social security payments.

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