UNITED STATES—Hello, Toni: My husband, John retired several years ago after turning 65. He enrolled in Medicare Part A, but declined Part B because I put him on my Blue Cross Blue Shield policy provided by my employer. Lately, I have read articles concerning failure to enroll in Medicare Part B and the penalties that one can have when they have delayed enrolling.

I spoke with a representative at the Social Security office and asked them if he would be penalized for delaying enrollment in Part B. They said he would not if he provides evidence that he has maintained employer health insurance signed by my employer.

This information seems opposite to the thousands of calls that he is receiving or what friends are advising regarding his Medicare. What should John do? Sheila from Tomball area.

Sheila: Social Security gave you excellent advice about John’s Medicare. In the past, I have written about the famous “Special Enrollment Period” form that needs to have Special Enrollment Period written at the top of the form in red. Sheila have that form signed by your HR when you retire and lose your employee benefits. This form helps America avoid the “famous” Medicare Part B penalty.

Sheila, you must have this form signed whether you leave for a new job or simply retire for both John and you, if you are also past 65. This is necessary!

Last week, I had two different readers that come into the Toni Says Medicare office for a consultation. Both non-working husbands had already enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and remained on their spouse’s employer benefits. They are now experiencing the agony of trying to enroll in a Medicare Supplement when one must answer health questions and have health issues.

Both cases have wives who qualified for the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment 6-month enrollment period because their Medicare Part B were just beginning. Neither wife had to answer one health question and picked which Medicare Supplement plan they desired.

Remember, enroll in Medicare Part B at the right time to keep from experiencing medical underwriting and just sail through the Medicare Supplement issuing process.

The two husbands were on their wives’ employer group health insurance plan and can apply for a guaranteed issue Medicare Supplement policy since they have been enrolled in Medicare Part B longer than 6 months and have health conditions that keep them from qualifying medically. They will only receive a 63-day guaranteed issue period to apply for a Medicare Supplement, not a 6-month window since they have been enrolled in Medicare Part B longer than 6 months.

You must have a current company benefit termination letter to prove to the Medicare Supplement insurance company that you are in a guaranteed issue period. No termination letter? Then you might not qualify medically and will only have Original Medicare Parts A and B as your medical plan.

During a guaranteed issue period, one only qualifies for certain plans. The guaranteed issue plans cannot charge more premiums, regardless of past or present health problems.

For a Medicare Enrollment Checkup call the Toni Says Medicare call center at 832-519-8664 regarding your Medicare plans and options.

August’s Confused about Medicare Workshop: West Houston/Katy Medicare Workshop-Thursday, August 22 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Spring Creek BBQ-Katy in the Banquet Room (dinner not provided) 21000 Katy Freeway, Katy, TX 77449. Please RSVP 832-519-8664.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Email Toni at info@tonisays.com.