Medicare Part B

by admin on April 12, 2021 · Part B

Medicare Part B or the doctor’s “Medical Insurance” pays when you visit your doctor in their office and other outpatient care. If you need to enroll in Medicare Part B here is what you need to know.

General Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment

General Enrollment is only open to the public January through March of each year. If you do not qualify for Special Enrollment (see below) your only option for enrolling in Medicare Part B will be the General Enrollment period. To sign up you need to fill out the General Enrollment form, HCFA-40b. (HCFA is pronounced hick-fah) You can pick up this form at your local Social Security office or have one mailed to you by calling Social Security’s toll free number.
The problem with the General Enrollment period, other than the fact that it only opens January through March, is that your Medicare Part B coverage will not start until July 1st of that year. Additionally, if you declined the Part B coverage originally and did not have group health insurance due to employment, (your employment of a family member’s) you can be charged a premium surcharge penalty. This penalty is 10% of the Medicare Part B premium amount for each year you were not enrolled in Medicare.

The Medicare Part B premium for 2006 is $88.50 per month. If you were out of Part B for one year the penalty would be 10% or $8.85. Your monthly premium for Part B coverage would then be $97.35 per month. As you can see, enrolling under General Enrollment can become quite expensive if you are assessed a penalty on your premium amounts.

Qualifying for Special Enrollment

Special Enrollment for Medicare Part B is available to qualified beneficiaries any time of the year. The coverage can be effective immediately and you will not have to wait until July as you would under General Enrollment. To sign up under special enrollment you need a Special Enrollment package, which is available from your local Social Security office or by calling the toll-free number.

To be eligible for Special Enrollment under Medicare Part B you need to have been covered by a group health plan due to current employment. The employment can be yours or that of a family member; as long as you are covered by that health insurance you are eligible for Special Enrollment. The catch is that the health plan must be due to current employment. You or your family member must actually be working; retirement policies do not satisfy this work requirement. If you are retiring and your policy is shifting from work to a retirement policy, you have a six month window to sign up for Medicare Part B. You are allowed three months before you stop work and three months after stopping work to enroll.

If you do not qualify for Special Enrollment and have to sign up under General Enrollment you must have the paperwork submitted prior to March 31st. For more information about your enrollment options, contact Social Security at their toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stu Pruschen October 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I LOVE your home page. The graphics are GREAT. Just what i needed after a terrible day…..

Natale Binetti November 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm

MY wife is working and I am covered under her medical plan . I have part B do I need to keep it while she is working?

OPHELIA PASCHAL December 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm


OPHELIA PASCHAL December 15, 2009 at 10:28 am

I have been trying to get forms for Medicare Part B and Part D. Can anyone help me.

Sharon Englehardt July 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

My husband has been on SS Diaability since 1987. He became eligible foer medicare in 1989 but I already had private insurance on our family so we declined part B. I was working at the time but no coverage was available through my employer. I started a job in 1995 at a Bank and he has been on my insurance ever since. The insurance had always covered him and I always disclosed his disability. Last Sept the insurance notified us that they were no longer going to cover him fully that he was eligible for Medicare and even though we didn’t have it they would only cover him as secondary. It had something to do with my employer falling below 20 employees. Funny they never said anything before until he fell off his bicycle and broke his collarbone and had to have surgery. Anyway I applied for Medicare B in Janurary. Know they say I we have to pay a penalty because I had private insurance from 1987 – 1995. They say they won’t recognize private ins. So I paid out of my pocket $440.00 a month in 1987 thru 1995 for my family and now I’m getting penalized for 5 years. They say the premium is going to be $165.00 a month for 5 years. HOW CAN THIS BE RIGHT? They say I can’t even appeal it. Government Rip Off!!! Angry and broke in Indiana.

Linda Brown November 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Sharon, this happened to me with the exception my Group Health Insurance is requesting refunds for all my medical expense for two years. I received no information when my card came. I just signed up this year for Part B with a penalty.

Now we are paying for my and my husbands Part B plus the full group health insurance amount. Plus if we are in the hospital we still pay a deductible of $300 for more than three day.

Doesn’t seem right???

john November 30, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I have to change from part A to part B to be able to keep my Military retired helth care Tricare do I have to wait also for the enrollment period?

john November 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm

also can not understand how I can be charged a payment for Part B, when I live overseas and can not use at all Medicare

SAMUEL RUSSELL January 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

When I turned 65 years old in 2003, I signed
up for Medicare Part A and Part B. As I continued to work
and receive health insurance from my employer, I discontinued Medicare Part B in 2008. When I retire and no longer receive health insurance from my employer, who has more than 40 employees, will I be able to sign up for Medicare Part B again, and if so, will I be penalized because I discontinued Part B in 2008?

JK January 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I declined medicare part B the first time last year, do i have to continue declining every year? or it’s understandable if i did it the first time i don’t have to do it again… and if i become interested then is that i sign for it
thank you

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