Your Weekly Medicare
Consumer Advocacy Update
Message to Congress: Restore Medicare Drug Rebates
January 10, 2013
Volume 4, Issue 2
For each 12-month period you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, you will have to pay a 10 percent Part B premium penalty, unless you have insurance from your or your spouse's current job.
In most cases you will have to pay that penalty every month for as long as you have Medicare. If you are enrolled in Medicare because of a disability and pay premium penalties, once you turn 65, you no longer have to pay the premium penalty.
Although your Part B premium amount is based on your income, your penalty is calculated based on the standard Part B premium. The penalty is then added to your actual premium amount.
How do you calculate your premium penalty? Let’s say you turned 65 in 2007, and you delayed signing up for Part B until 2013 (and you did not have employer insurance that allows you to delay enrollment). Because you delayed enrollment for 6 years, your monthly premium would be 60 percent higher for as long as you have Medicare (6 years x 10 percent). Since the Medicare Part B premium in 2013 for most people is $104.90, your monthly premium including the added penalty would be $167.84 ($104.90 x 0.6 + $104.90).
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) recently released a visual timeline of Medicare’s history. The video, The Story of Medicare: A Timeline, spans the 1930s all the way to present day. It covers the health care debate leading up to Medicare’s creation in 1965, and also covers subsequent changes to the program, including the repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in the 1980s and the gradual closure of the Part D coverage gap in the Affordable Care Act in 2012.
The video highlights the importance of Medicare to the 50 million older adults and people with disabilities served by the program. It also underscores the challenges policymakers faced in the past, and currently face today, in ensuring that the Medicare timeline is extended for future generations.