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Delaying Medicare Part B

You might have heard people talk more than once about having only Medicare Part A as opposed to both Medicare A and B. Can you hold off on one and look into getting it later? What leads people to do this? What is involved in delaying Medicare B (meant for doctor coverage)?

The long and short of it is that some people have the ability to delay Medicare Part B because they have employer coverage, but it is important to understand the rules and penalties for not following the rules.

Why Might I Need to Delay Medicare B? 

The most common reason to delay Medicare B is that you choose to continue working past age 65, or your spouse continues to work, and you happen to enjoy a decent healthcare plan that your employer provides. Check with the employers' HR department to see what their policies are regarding Medicare. If the employer has fewer than 20 employees, then you still need to go ahead and enroll in Medicare because that will be your primary insurer. The opposite is the case if your employer has more than twenty employees, but only if you are still an active employee. 

The specifics may differ depending upon the employee insurance you're enrolled in or even the type of occupation, and it wouldn't hurt to consult these matters with your company HR department and even a Medicare Broker. 

How Do I Delay Medicare B, and Will It Cost Me Anything?

If you are delaying Medicare B because you have credible insurance through an employer then you can apply for Medicare Part B when you are retiring or losing your health benefits. You will have to fill out a form and your employer will have to fill out a form stating that you’ve had insurance through them ever since turning 65.  Your enrollment in Medicare is done with your local Social Security office. 

As long as you have had credible insurance with no gap in coverage you will not receive a late enrollment penalty.  After losing employer coverage you have 8 months to enroll in Medicare Part B.  If you do not take advantage of that window then you can only apply for Medicare Part B between Jan. 1 and March 31st with a July 1st effective date.  You will also receive a 10% increase in your Part B monthly premium per year that you did not have credible insurance coverage as a late enrollment penalty.  

If your decision to delay is a matter of affordability, know also that there are options through your state for low-income individuals. Discuss these possibilities with New Jersey Medicare Brokers before it's time to enroll in Medicare Parts A or B, and plan ahead, whether you're delaying Medicare B or not.

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