Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty
The Medicare late enrollment penalty is a penalty that you may have to pay if you enroll in Medicare Part B after your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your IEP begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after. If you miss your IEP, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for each month that you delay enrollment.
The amount of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you delay enrollment. For each 12-month period that you delay enrollment, your Part B premium will be 10% higher than it would have been if you had enrolled during your IEP. This penalty will continue to apply for as long as you are enrolled in Part B.
There are a few exceptions to the late enrollment penalty. You may not have to pay a penalty if you had creditable health insurance coverage during the time that you delayed enrollment in Part B. Creditable health insurance coverage includes coverage from an employer, a union, or a government health insurance program.
If you think that you may be subject to the late enrollment penalty, you should contact the Social Security Administration to learn more about your options. You can also use the Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty Estimator to calculate how much the penalty would be.
Here are some tips to avoid the Medicare late enrollment penalty:
- Enroll in Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your IEP begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after.
- If you have creditable health insurance coverage during the time that you delay enrollment in Part B, keep records of your coverage. This will help you prove that you are exempt from the late enrollment penalty if you are audited.
- If you think that you may be subject to the late enrollment penalty, contact the Social Security Administration to learn more about your options.
The Medicare late enrollment penalty can be a significant financial burden, so it is important to take steps to avoid it. By enrolling in Medicare Part B during your IEP or by maintaining creditable health insurance coverage, you can avoid the penalty and ensure that you have the coverage you need when you reach retirement age.