Medicare Part B is voluntary, but most people should enroll when they turn 65. This timeframe is your Initial Enrollment Period. There are, however, some cases where it may make sense to delay enrollment.
When you have employer health insurance
If you have health insurance from your employer, you may be want to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B. You can delay enrollment until you retire or your employer's health insurance coverage ends. If your company benefits include healthcare at a reasonable cost and you are satisfied with the coverage, you can put off paying for Medicare Part B. The size of your company - whether it has 20 or more employees - can impact this decision as well.
Losing your employer health coverage creates a Special Enrollment Period during which you can enroll in Medicare Part B as well as a Medicare Supplement plan and prescription plan.
Will there be a Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty?
Failing to enroll in Medicare Part B can lead to the dreaded late enrollment penalty. The penalty is calculated as 10% of the standard Part B premium for each 12-month period that you could have enrolled but did not. The penalty is permanent, so it is important to weigh the cost of the penalty against the benefits of delaying enrollment.
That said, there is no late enrollment penalty if you have creditable coverage. In most cases, you employer healthcare plan will satisfy the creditable coverage requirement and you'll avoid any late enrollment penalty.
If you are unsure whether to delay enrollment
If you are unsure whether to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, you should talk to your financial advisor or a healthcare expert. They can help you assess your individual situation and make the best decision for you.
Here are some additional things to consider when deciding whether to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B:
Your current health status and expected future medical needs
Your income and ability to afford the Part B premium and potential late enrollment penalty
Your employer's health insurance coverage and when you expect to lose it
Your personal preferences and risk tolerance
It is important to weigh all of these factors carefully before making a decision about whether to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B.