If I wait to take Part B, will I face a penalty?
You will have to pay a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty if you do not sign up for Part B when you first become eligible for Medicare or during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you do have insurance from a current employer, you must enroll in Part B within eight months of retiring or losing coverage, or you will have to pay a penalty.
Before making any decisions about enrolling in, or opting out of Part B, talk to the Social Security Administration. If you do have another form of health insurance, contact the plan's benefit administrator to find out how that plan works with Medicare. Then, contact Social Security to confirm the plan's guidance. Make sure to keep detailed notes of who you spoke with, when, and what they told you.
If you do not enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial Enrollment Period, you will have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period to enroll. The General Enrollment Period begins January 1 and ends March 31 of each year. If you sign up for Medicare Part B during a General Enrollment Period your coverage starts on July 1 of that year. Your Medicare Part B premium may go up 10% for each 12 month period that you could have had Medicare Part B but did not take it. The only exception is if you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period. To see if you qualify for an SEP or to enroll in Part B, you must enroll through Social Security. You can do this online at www.socialsecurity.gov, over the phone at 800-772-1213 or in person at your local Social Security office.