[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Don’t Get Stuck with Medicare Late Fees | 01-18-2017
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
58°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 25
1966 - Mustang Drive-In theater opens on Soledad Canyon Road [story]


By Greg Dill

This past holiday season, I found myself in line at the airport counter, waiting to check a bag prior to a flight to visit family and friends. The gentlemen in front of me got frustrated when the customer agent said he had to pay more to check a bag because he hadn’t paid for it online beforehand.

I could relate to his irritation since I’d had a similar experience years ago. But I was late for my plane and hoped the situation would be remedied soon. After talking to a manager and reviewing the terms of the ticket purchase, the man paid the extra fee. The rest of us in line sighed quiet relief as the clock ticked down to our departure times.

The gentleman’s reaction made me think of a Medicare beneficiary I encountered a while back. He’d decided not to enroll in Medicare Part B, which helps pay for doctor fees, outpatient treatment, and preventive-care services, when he was first eligible.

At the time he declined his Part B benefits, he was in good health. He rarely saw a doctor, didn’t take prescription drugs, and never had been admitted to a hospital. Part B carries a monthly premium (about $109 for most people in 2017), and the man didn’t think he should pay for something he didn’t need.

Several years later his health declined and he wanted Part B. He signed up in March but learned that his coverage wouldn’t start until July. And since he waited five years to enroll after he was initially eligible (and didn’t have job-based insurance during that time), he discovered that he’d have to pay a late penalty equal to 50 percent of his monthly premium.

He was very surprised, to say the least. He reached out to Medicare to reduce the penalty, but unfortunately we couldn’t do anything to help. When the beneficiary turned down Part B five years earlier, he signed a document explaining the penalty and the potential for higher costs. He now must pay this surcharge on his Part B premium for as long as he has Part B.

Why does Medicare have such penalties?

Like private insurance, Medicare spreads its costs across a “pool” of insured people that includes both those who are healthy and those with medical problems. Late-enrollment penalties are meant to ensure that people join the risk pool when they’re healthy, not just when they get sick. Thus, premiums paid by healthy people help offset the costs of those who with illnesses, keeping the program’s overall expenses as low as possible for everyone.

Late-enrollment penalties can add up. Your Part B premium may go up 10 percent for each full 12-month period that you could’ve had Part B but didn’t sign up for it. (You don’t usually pay a late penalty if you defer Part B while you’re covered by employer insurance.)

So please remember: If you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay the late penalty for as long as you have Part B.

Late penalties also apply to Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization. Although the vast majority of people with Medicare don’t pay for Part A, those who do must sign up when they’re first eligible or face a potential penalty.

You can also get hit with a penalty for late enrollment in Medicare Part D, which helps pay for prescription drugs. The way it’s calculated is more complicated than Part B, but this penalty can add up, too. For details, see the 2017 Medicare & You handbook, mailed to every person with Medicare in the fall. It’s also online at https://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf.

Or call us, toll free, any time of day or night, at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, May 25, 2017
The CLWA-NCWD merger is not a takeover, as Plambeck repeatedly insists. It is the product of months of discussion between two willing parties, which could be terminated at any time by either party or both parties.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wildflower lovers are split into two camps: One camp likes the purple color of the flowers, while the other quickly points out everything that's wrong with this non-native, invasive species.
Monday, May 22, 2017
At its root, leftism despises this redeeming nature and also the deity of the Judeo-Christian moral system, and so rejects such possible redemption. This, despite leftists’ insistence that others treat them according to the immovable objective standard of that moral code, and despite that code allowing them the type of life they demand.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
History shows us that presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect important and special places on our federal lands only after local residents, businesses, tribes and others have made it clear to the president that an overwhelming majority of them want and support such a designation.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
The gentleman working the fruit stand asked what I do for a living. When I told him I work for Medicare, he said he was having difficulty paying for his prescription drugs. So we talked for a while about ways he might be able to reduce his drug costs.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
The expense of college often stands as an insurmountable obstacle to students’ academic achievement. At College of the Canyons, we have launched a number of initiatives designed to bridge that gap and ensure financial need does not prevent students from achieving their full potential.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The CLWA-NCWD merger is not a takeover, as Plambeck repeatedly insists. It is the product of months of discussion between two willing parties, which could be terminated at any time by either party or both parties.
Chicken Little, Part 1 | Commentary by Dan Masnada
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, deputies and volunteers trained for an active shooter situation at The Masters University Thursday morning. Plus, a girl is fighting for her life, leaving her family asking the community for blood donations to help her survive. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, May 25, 2017
Dr. Steven J. Golightly, Director of the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department (CSSD), was recognized on May 22 for his Department’s innovative efforts to improve child support services for L.A. County residents and his zeal for developing future leaders for government service to the public.
County Child Support Services Director Receives Excellence in Government Award
Motown in Town is back on Sunday, June 25 from 5:00 to 10:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.
June 25: Motown in Town 2 at the Hyatt
Hot on the heels of the original Silicon Valley and the more recently named Silicon Beach, the current buzz is all about the Silicon Suburb or Santa Clarita Valley.
Business Incubator Tenant Selected for Festival of Creativity in Cannes
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, announces that Senate Bill (SB 792), a measure to establish an oversight commission for Los Angeles County Measure B trauma funding has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee and is headed to the Senate floor for a vote.
Oversight of LA County Trauma Care Dollars Given Green Light
Princess Cruises has debuted its 2018-2019 Exotics program which will take guests to culturally rich and iconic cruise destinations around the globe.
Princess Cruises Debuts 2018-2019 Exotics Sailings
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, announces that Senate Bills 634 (SB 634), a measure which would create a new water district in the Santa Clarita Valley, cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee and is headed to the Senate floor for consideration.
SCV Water Agency Merger Bill Clears Senate Panel
During a nighttime operation, SCV Sheriffs deputies and detectives made contact with several individuals which resulted in three arrests for warrants and narcotics related offenses.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputies, Detectives Conduct Nighttime Commercial Burglary Suppression
The Castaic Lake Water Agency Water Resources Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Water Division.
June 1: CLWA Water Resources Committee Meeting
In celebration of its 10th year anniversary, the College of the Canyons literary and arts magazine cul-de-sac will release its annual volume at a special reception on Friday, May 26, which will include readings from students.
May 26: COC Literary Magazine Celebrates a Decade of Artistry
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on May 27, 2017 in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.
May 27: SCV Sheriff’s Deputies Conducting Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation
The next New Heights panel will focus on "The Nuts and Bolts of Effective Grant Writing" and will be on July 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at The Centre.
July 12: New Heights Discusses Effective Grant Writing
The San Jose Giants rallied late and pulled away for an 11-7 victory over the Lancaster JetHawks in a back-and-forth game on Wednesday night at The Hangar.
JetHawks Fall to San Jose Giants
Wildflower lovers are split into two camps: One camp likes the purple color of the flowers, while the other quickly points out everything that's wrong with this non-native, invasive species.
The Prickly One
1966 - Mustang Drive-In theater opens on Soledad Canyon Road [story]
A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) motorcyclist that collided with a truck on Interstate 5 in the early hours of Tuesday morning is recovering at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, a spokesman said.
LAPD Motorcyclist in “Serious” Condition after Tuesday’s I-5 Collision
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, an update on the LAPD motorcyclist that collided with a truck on the I-5 Tuesday morning. Plus, Castaic Middle School students get a glimpse at a career in animal training. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, May 24, 2017
An 8-year-old Santa Clarita girl is fighting for her life Wednesday, leaving her family asking the community for blood donations to help her survive.
8-Year-Old Girl in Need of Blood Donations
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes deep cuts to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, and many other important programs.
State Superintendent Urges Congress to Reject Federal Education Budget Proposal
On May 16, 2017, the State Water Resources Quality Control Board approved an amendment to the Los Angeles Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) to incorporate Salt and Nutrient Management Measures for the Upper Santa Clara River Basin.
Salt, Nutrient Management Measures Approved for Santa Clara River Basin
Valencia Water Company (VWC) is encouraging customers to maintain their water-saving achievements from the recent drought and take advantage of improved rebates, incentives, online workshops and other resources to secure permanent water efficiencies inside their homes and for their landscapes.
Valencia Water Company Expands Rebates to Help Home Water-Use Efficiencies
Bigger, better and wetter than ever, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is ready to keep Southern Californian’s cool all summer long. The water park opens for its 23rd season on Saturday, May 27 with over 23 unique slides and attractions for the entire family.
May 27: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashes Into Summer
Princess Cruises, the world’s largest premium cruise line, and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Friendship Association) officially began Majestic Princess’ journey from Rome to China which will feature a cultural exchange program themed “Telling the Chinese Story along the Silk Road Sea Route.”
Majestic Princess Begins Journey to China Along the Silk Road Sea Route
Four California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) employees who showed courage in the face of danger have been presented with the Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor Award.
Caltrans’ Employees Receive Highest Honor for State Public Servants
In recognition of how vital small businesses are to local economies, the City of Los Angeles and Small Business Administration (SBA) Resource Partners awarded John Pictaggi, owner of National Glass, an Outstanding Small Business Award at City Hall on May 1.
COC Small Business Development Center Client Wins Award
From Thursday to Saturday, nine student-athletes from The Master’s University will compete at the NAIA National Championships at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
TMU Competing in 2017 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Brian Mundell drove in the final three runs to propel the JetHawks to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the San Jose Giants on Tuesday night at The Hangar.
Santa Clarita Native Lifts JetHawks to Victory
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, an LAPD motorcycle officer is injured in an early morning crash. Plus, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital celebrates the topping out ceremony for their new patient tower. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Tuesday, Representative Steve Knight’s (CA-25) bill, No Hero Left Untreated Act, passed unanimously from the House of Representatives and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Knight’s ‘No Hero Left Untreated Act’ Unanimously Passes House
The COC SBDC is hosting a local pitch competition on June 1, as part of InnovateHER 2017. The SBA National competition with cash prizes totaling $70,000 in the final round is scheduled for September 2017.
June 1: COC SBDC Hosts InnovateHER Pitch Competition
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in Santa Clarita Valley on Wednesday, May 24.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for Santa Clarita Valley
The median price of single-family homes in the Santa Clarita Valley that closed escrow during April was $555,000, up 3.1 percent from April 2017 and 3.7 percent higher than March.
Median Price of Single Family Homes Up 3.1 Percent
The SCV Senior Center is offering a new class that will teach attendees the art of crochet and jewelry making.
SCV Senior Center Offering New Class on Crochet, Jewelry Making
Get ready for the sounds of live Jazz and Blues bands to once again fill Town Center Drive in Valencia. Established 18 years ago, the series will once again feature regional, national and international entertainers in a quaint street party setting while offering interactive activities for adults and children.
2017 Valencia Jazz and Blues Concert Series Announced