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📋 Millions Pay Medicare Late-Enrollment Penalties for Life after Missing Deadlines (AARP Article)

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Esteemed Social Butterfly

📋 Millions Pay Medicare Late-Enrollment Penalties for Life after Missing Deadlines (AARP Article)

ANY COMMENTS?  🤔  I AM SO GLAD I AVOIDED THESE PENALTIES!  😎
 
FROM THE ARTICLE - SEE ARTICLE FOR MORE.
 
While nearly all Americans become eligible for the Medicare health insurance program when they turn 65, many people delay signing up for various reasons. These delays are an important issue, because missing key deadlines can lead to late-enrollment penalties, specifically for people who wait too long to enroll in Medicare Part B (physician and other outpatient services) or Part D (outpatient prescription drug coverage). People who incur late-enrollment penalties pay them along with their monthly premiums—and usually must pay the penalty for the rest of their lives.
 
By Harriet Komisar, AARP Public Policy Institute & Keith Lind, AARP Public Policy Institute. Published March 15, 2024.
 

https://www.aarp.org/pri/topics/health/coverage-access/millions-pay-medicare-late-enrollment-penalti...

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Honored Social Butterfly

Maybe we should Thank them since they are paying MORE - which keeps us from paying more - cause it all goes back to the program - B or D - whichever.

 

However, when a low income person does not enroll when they are eligible - for whatever the reason - if they qualify for a Medicare Savings Program that pays the Part B premium - then their state’s Medicaid program picks up the premium -

penalty and all.

 

Same for Part D except it is covered under the Low Income Subsidy program for Rx.- National Council on Aging - 10/23/2023 - Understanding Medicare’s Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS/Ext...

 

Many people don’t read any of the info put out by CMS or Medicare nor do they seek help from the many avenues that offer it - 

 

I helped a son of a man who was 87 years old the other day and he has never had Part D or Part B - the elderly man said they were too expensive and now he needed them - Imagine premium penalties for 22 years - they were astronomical.  Thank goodness, he was an eligible Veteran and is now enrolled in that Healthcare system

 

Yes some people do it because they don’t want to pay the Part B premiums or they aren’t on any Rx treatments but delaying enrollment in them isn’t a good way to do it.

 

Others do it because they are living outside the US borders and don’t need it UNLESS they come back later in their life and then want to use this outpatient and/or prescription drug plan within Medicare.

 

Others think they have already paid for these programs while they were working with their Medicare payroll deductions - Those payroll deductions only pay for Medicare Part A and if you have enough years paying into the system, you get premium-free Medicare Part A.

 

From theAARP Public Policy Institute Report on the subject 03/ 2024 :

 The purpose of the penalties is to encourage
prompt enrollment and discourage people
from waiting until they need costly health care
to sign up. This approach not only benefits
individuals by protecting them with health
insurance but also strengthens the Medicare
program by spreading its costs broadly among
a wide population, which helps keep per-
person costs and premiums as low as possible.

 

So IF NOT a late sign up penalty, how would we get people to sign up in a timely fashion.?

 

I think many people don’t know how insurance works - ANY insurance - 

In this regards, their lack of learning or knowledge is costing them - or maybe not if they are low income and are eligible for some MSP subsidy. 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@SummerIsTooHOT wrote

I guess this PENALTY subject needs to be BROADCAST to all and not sure the best way this could be done

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Not sure how much more it could be broadcasted since it is covered in all of the Medicare info about signing up and all of the sign up helpers should know about it and can relay the info.

 

I do think that making the sign up sign up dates for Medicare the same as FRA Retirement could perhaps make it more noticeable especially since this is more tied to their work - If they are also going to continue to work and use employer group coverage then they have to know what they are doing when opting out of Medicare with coverage that Medicare considers adequate (meaning employer group coverage) or credible.  

 

So perhaps it is a matter of changing dates to sign up for Medicare.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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If they can read - the Medicare booklet “Medicare and You” is available to them free of charge - In fact, I thought everybody eligible for Medicare got one of these every year since they are issued by year.  

 

Not everybody has an employer - why should this be put on the employer anyway?  

 

There are people who can help a beneficiary with Medicare at the state level (State Health Insurance Programs - SHIP), most every state has a write up on Medicare on their website, then there are MEDICARE insurance brokers and agents that can help people make decisions and help them thru the enrollment process.  Medicare.gov also gives all the details and has a place to put in ones zip code to see what plans are available. 

 

States and Federal government send out color coded letters if they think the beneficiary might qualify for some sort of Medicare subsidy.  

 

And there are many non-profit agencies that help seniors that also help beneficiaries with their sign up -

 

Basically all they have to know if Medicare sign up is at age 65 - at that age (even 3-months before) they need to do something about it and need to find out what they need to do or what they are eligible for at 65 or what they have to do if they are going to keep employer group coverage.  SOME ACTION HAS TO BE TAKEN on their 65th birthday.  Even if that is just finding somebody to help them.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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My father in law worked for social security for decades and was used to navigating the government bureaucratic morass but when he retired even he didn't understand how medicare works. He was eligible because federal workers had to start paying into the system back in the eighties (an early sign that the program was already in trouble) but he didn't understand that his wife was also eligible based on his record. My husband and I had to work to get my mother in law signed up for part A after he died when she was 88 years old.

 

The federal government does not send "everyone who is eligible for medicare" any kind of booklet (or any other information) on the program. They may send something to people all ready in the system but not to everyone whose eligible; there's a difference. You're completely on your own in figuring out how all of this mess  works. The government doesn't care if you understand it at all.

 

What I do understand is that I can't afford medicare and I don't qualify for any kind of subsidy. Part b premiums are way out of my range financially.

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@LG322302 wrote

What I do understand is that I can't afford medicare and I don't qualify for any kind of subsidy. Part b premiums are way out of my range financially.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

IF a beneficiary is low income as defined by various programs - help is available.  The Medicare Savings Programs helps out this group and is a joint effort by federal and state governments - 

 

Here are the programs and the eligibility income and resource limits - some states even make these limits lower - Each program covers certain things with the QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary) being the most inclusive in coverage.

 

Medicare.gov - Medicare Savings Programs

 

Then there is the “EXTRA HELP” or Low Income Subsidy Program (LIS) which help certain Medicare beneficiaries with their prescription drug cost - again eligibility is determined by income and resources and it is jointly ran by the feds and states - some states may also have more lenient (expanded) income eligibility guidelines than others or have another program that covers those with a modified [higher] lower income level with less benefits.

SSA.gov - Apply for Medicare Part D Extra Help Program.

 

SSA sends out color coded info letters to many beneficiaries whom they believe might qualify for some of these programs - but it is up to the beneficiary to apply because the SSA does not have access to all the pertinent & complete info to make a determination of eligibility.

 

Yes, you are right that some info on Medicare and Social Security takes searching to find or a trip to local SSA office - but there are numerous organizations and people that have this knowledge too - you just have to find them and hook up - if one cannot do it themselves or have a friend or family member that can help them. 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@SummerIsTooHOT 

Yes, the ending of the PHE (Public Health Emergency) has changed a lot of these helping hand programs back to the way they were previously -

There are several Medicare Savings Programs, each is a little different than the other one - and each has different eligibility income and resource limits.

 

Plus, as always happens, when there are COLAs as big as the most recent ones - it does knock some people off of these programs.  And with Part B premiums now being so high for many, it does hurt them in the pocketbook - in addition to having to pay more for their RX if they lose the Low Income Subsidy [ Extra Help ]

 

One of the problems with Medicare is trying to control these Part B premiums but with new treatments and cures being discovered and approved, usually expensive, at least in the beginning - there is little likelihood that this cost is going to go down - and higher income folks are already paying much higher amount for Part B - 

 

All one can do is check EVERY Year to see how the eligibility rules affect them - also check for the states Extra Help categories.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@LG322302 wrote

The federal government does not send "everyone who is eligible for medicare" any kind of booklet (or any other information) on the program.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

They say they do - I get mine every year - started 1st year I signed up for Medicare - way back when.

 

Medicare.gov - Medicare and You handbook

 

You can even get it electronically if you sign up for it that way - 

 

 

Here Ya Go -  this is the pdf format (download)

Medicare and You 2024 -

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Periodic Contributor

Thank you but I'm not really interested. I don't have medicare. My point was that you do not receive this booklet just because you are eligible for medicare. You only receive it if you have actually signed up. Eligible by definition means that you meet the qualifications to do something, not that you are actually doing it. The government does not send this booklet out to everyone who turns 65 and can sign up if they choose. Only to those who do sign up or who are enrolled automatically because they are receiving social security. 

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@SummerIsTooHOT 

 

Then what do you suggest that SSA and CMS do to inform people about Medicare - all of it - how it works, what’s covered and how, the different Parts, who can get help and who pays more and how - etc.

 

You went to your Dept of Aging or Council on Aging - other seniors have access to them and others who can help them.  There are tons of ways to get help - 

 

But a lot of seniors don’t just want help - they want it to be done FOR THEM - they want somebody else to make the decisions FOR THEM - in some cases that might work out fine but in other cases it isn’t the right choice for them ore they don’t think so and then they blame the helping hand person of making the wrong decision.   

 

It is frustrating - especially when they don’t even have basic knowledge of how Medicare (or even Social Security) works.  For something as important to them as these two program, you would think that they would at least have a basic working knowledge of them.

 

Most everybody gets old or can’t work forever - most people have a need for some sort of healthcare when they get older or are disabled - 

Do they just not think about it until something happens?  Out of Sight / Out of Mind philosophy?

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I honestly thought she did work for AARP.

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