Rethinking Medicare Part B: Penalty?


Q. In 1997, I retired from the federal government at age 58. I will soon be 74. When I became eligible for Medicare, I chose only Plan A, since most of Plan B would have duplicated my Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits.  My wife is 59, and went on Social Security disability in 2008. She chose only Plan A of Medicare for the above stated reason. Now, I am rethinking my situation. If we were to apply for Plan B, would we be required to pay the 10 percent annual penalty for each year because we chose not to take Plan B? If so, that would make it unaffordable. Or, will my creditable coverage over those years result in a waiver of the penalty?

A. You would be required to pay the 10 percent per year penalty to enroll in Part B.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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