Medicare penalties


Q. If one decides to defer Medicare Part B at age 65 and continue with health care coverage under FEHBP, is there a penalty? I have read that it is 10 percent a year for each year after 65 — is this true? Is there a ceiling on the penalty amount?

A. As long as you or your spouse are currently employed, there won’t be any penalty. You can delay your enrollment in Part B until you are no longer covered under that FEHB plan based on current employment. Then you will have an eight-month, penalty-free period in which you can enroll.

On the other hand, if you are no longer employed, your Part B coverage will be 10 percent for every year you could have been enrolled but weren’t. There is no ceiling on that penalty.


About Author

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


  1. Now that my FEHB health insurance is paying like medicare, will we be offered a supplemental insurance policy like the medicare part B recipients. when I receive medical treatment I’m left with a percentage that I have to pay. When I retired 15 years ago I was led to believe that I didn’t need medicare part b, and until a few years ago I didn’t need it, however now I do need it, as my FEHB insurance is insuffient. I am paying more than the medicare part b recipients and I’m not being offered any kind of supplemental insurance. At this point medicare Part b cost for me would be unaffordable.

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