UNITED STATES—Ms. Toni: I believe I have received wrong information from my friends who suggested that I enroll in Medicare Part A which I did by going online and delaying my Medicare Part B for a later date.

Now I have a problem.  I own a small law firm with a small group plan of 2 employees, me and my assistant who is now covered under her husband’s group health plan and is no longer in the group plan. Since there is only 1 person left on the group plan, it is being turned into an individual plan and I must now enroll in Medicare Part B.

I turn 65 on March 6 and because I’ve delayed my Medicare Part B, I have no idea of how to now let Medicare know that I need to enroll in Part B with a March 1 effective date. What do I do? John from Tucson, AZ.

Hi John: You are not alone because enrolling in Medicare confuses most Americans especially when friends and even Social Security or Medicare can give you inaccurate information.  This is how the Toni Says® Medicare consultation was born because someone received inaccurate Medicare enrollment advice from a Social Security agent from over the phone which cost him over $10,000.

Enrolling in Medicare Part A when someone is turning 65 and receiving their Social Security check at 65 is automatic because Social Security knows you have turned 65 and your Medicare Part B will be included when you receive your “Welcome to Medicare” kit.  This is not your situation John because you were not receiving your Social Security check, so Medicare did not know that you were turning 65.  You have now enrolled in Medicare Part A, but delayed your Medicare Part B. You need to enroll in Medicare because you are no longer on an employer health plan. Now you are in an individual health plan.

Here is my advice to what you should do:

•        Since you have delayed your Part B, you will need go online to www.ssa.gov and print a Medicare Special Enrollment form CMS L564 “Request for Employment Information.” Fill this out and have it signed by your HR or office manager and take the form to your local Social Security office in person.

•        Explain in person to the Social Security agent, your story about enrolling in Medicare Part A and that you delayed your Medicare Part B but your Medicare Part B to begin March 1.

•        Turn in your “Request for Employment” signed form and ask the Social Security agent to fill out CMS-40B “Application for enrollment in Medicare Part B” with a March 1 effective date by February 28.

Let’s discuss the various scenarios of enrolling in Medicare Part A when turning 65:

•        Turning 65 with employer health benefits: You now have a choice of enrolling or not enrolling in Medicare Parts A and/or Part B because you are covered under an employer health plan. Always discuss your Medicare decision with your company’s HR or email Toni at info@tonisays.com with your Medicare enrollment questions.

•        Turning 65 with individual health insurance:  It would be wise to enroll in both Medicare Parts A and B to avoid the “famous” Medicare Part B penalty.

•        Turning 65 with an HSA if you enroll in Medicare Part A, then you can no longer fund your HSA.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the  Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle packages for the Toni Says® newspaper article readers at www.tonisays.com. If you would like any Medicare questions answered please contact us at info@tonisays.com or 832-519-8664.