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How to avoid penalties for Medicare Part B

Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-25 09:57:14-04

If you’re approaching retirement age, you’ve probably heard about Medicare Part B, the part that covers doctor visits, medical tests, drugs, ambulance rides and more.

While this important program can offer many benefits, some Americans are unsure of when and how they should sign up for it.

Retirement is a great time to have fun and also get your health and finances in order. But statistics show many Americans make mistakes when it comes to claiming their medical benefits. Last year, nearly 700,000 beneficiaries paid Medicare Part B penalties.

Here’s what you need to know: You should sign up for Medicare Part B when you turn 65 unless you’re working and have coverage through an employer or your working spouse’s employer. You have seven months, the month in which you turn 65 and the three months both before and after it to apply for Part B without a penalty. If you don’t follow these rules, Medicare can add a permanent penalty to your premiums for each year you delay.

Sam Wilson, Wisconsin's state director of the AARP, said Aging and Disability Resource Centers all over the state have benefit specialists who can help seniors.

“We often call it the best-kept secret in Wisconsin because oftentimes state agencies don't have a lot of money to do marketing and you really have to oftentimes search it out,” said Wilson.

If you're still unsure about Part B, you can meet with a financial adviser, or here are some websites you can check out: