Aging Without Medicare Part B
What if you Don’t Have Medicare Part B?
Many Americans enroll in Medicare Part A because it is free if you have enough Social Security quarters of employment. Part B has a fee, and you need to sign up for it and start paying for it during your first Medicare enrollment period or pay a late-enrollment penalty.
To get Part B, you must sign up three months before your 65th birthday, during the month of your birthday, or during the three months following it. If you are not currently getting group medical insurance through active employment and your employer has over 20 employees, you might be able to put off signing up until the job ends. Please consult your benefits manager.
Note: If you are employed and have group health insurance through work, and then lose your job or retire, you need to check with Medicare. In some cases, accepting COBRA coverage may affect your Medicare enrollment.
Once you get far enough into a Part B late-enrollment period, your penalty will raise your Part B premium significantly. The penalty is 10% for each year you are late as well as a smaller penalty on Part D (prescription drug) insurance. The penalties are for the rest of your life so that they can become unaffordable.
If paying for medical insurance is out of the question, and the prospect of medical expenses is looming, the only alternative you have is to spend down your assets and try to qualify for Medicaid. If you own a home, it may be time to consider selling it.
You should consult a lawyer or specialist before doing anything. However, many people become ill as they age and if medical expenses occur, you will be responsible for them.