Penalties and Risks

It is important to sign up for Medicare at the right time, so that you do not have to pay a penalty later on. This is true for both Parts A and B.

For example, if you did not get automatically enrolled or sign up for Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period, you will have a “late” penalty premium for Part A when you do sign up later on. The enrollment periods and premium penalties are the same whether you are entitled to Medicare Part A (because you paid for it through your payroll taxes) or can voluntarily buy Medicare Part A.

If you sign up late for Medicare Part B, you will have to pay a “late” penalty premium every month, along with your Part B premium.  However, if you delayed taking Part B because you had health insurance through your job or your spouse's job, you usually won't pay a late enrollment penalty if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Learn more about the penalties for signing up late for Original Medicare.

Medicare.gov has a late enrollment penalty calculator to see what you might have to pay for Part B if you sign up late.

What if I signed up late and can’t afford the penalties?

If you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A, and/or Part B through the Medicare Savings Programs. You may also qualify for Extra Help to pay for your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Aon Hewitt Navigators® is a Medicare insurance brokerage service recommended by NCOA because it meets rigorous Standards of Excellence established by NCOA. You may be eligible for personal one-on-one assistance in selecting and enrolling in health coverage. All of the services are provided at no cost to consumers. Check to see if you are eligible.

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