If you aren't eligible for premium-free Part A, and you don't buy it when you're first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10%. You'll have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you could have had Part A, but didn't sign up.
In most cases, if you don't sign up for Part B when you're first eligible, you'll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You'll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B. Your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn't sign up for it. Also, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (from January 1 to March 31) to enroll in Part B.
Part D late enrollment penalty: 1% (per month) of the national base beneficiary premium ($35.02 for 2018), times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. This penalty is not only added to your monthly Medicare drug plan premium for as long as you have prescription coverage, it may also continue to increase each year if the national base beneficiary premium increases.
- Watch the Medicare & You: How the Part D Penalty is Calculated video
1. Join a Medicare drug plan when you're first eligible.
You won't have to pay a penalty, even if you've never had prescription drug coverage before.
2. Don't go 63 days or more in a row without a Medicare drug plan or other creditable drug coverage*.
Your plan must tell you each year if your drug coverage is creditable coverage. They may send you this information in a letter, or draw your attention to it in a newsletter or other piece of correspondence. Keep this information because you may need it if you join a Medicare drug plan later.
*Creditable prescription drug coverage: Prescription drug coverage (for example, from an employer) that’s expected to pay, on average, at least as much as Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage. People who have this kind of coverage when they become eligible for Medicare can generally keep that coverage without paying a penalty, if they decide to enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage lager.
3. Tell your plan about any drug coverage you had if they ask about it.
When you join a Medicare drug plan, the plan will check to see if you had creditable drug coverage for 63 days or more in a row. If the plan believes you didn't, it will send you a letter with a form asking about any drug coverage you had. Complete the form and return it to your drug plan by the deadline in the letter. If you don't tell the plan about your creditable drug coverage, you may have to pay a penalty.
Join an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan that includes Parts A, B and D-prescription drug coverage when you’re first eligible and avoid late enrollment penalties.
This is not an advertisement on behalf of any Medicare Advantage health plan or plans. For information about Medicare, visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.