UNITED STATES—Toni: My Medicare begins June 1 and I have received my first bill which is $578.40 with the premium due by May 25.  I do not see this Medicare cost anywhere on the Medicare site or in any information I received when I came into the Toni Says office for my Medicare consultation. Am I being charged the Medicare Part B penalty?  I signed up before I turned 65.  What is wrong?

I am not starting my Social Security check until I turn 66 which is my full retirement age, so I must pay this myself to Social Security. Is there a way I can pay the Medicare Part B premium monthly instead of the whole amount?  Look forward to what your thoughts are? Edward from Tampa.

Edward: Here is a Medicare surprise for you…. You are not being charged EXTRA!! You have been charged for 4 months of Medicare Part B premiums. Since you are not receiving a Social Security check, then all Social Security can do is bill you for your Medicare premiums. Yours is for a 4-month lump sum of June, July August and September which is $144.60 times 4 months that equals $578.40.

Most Americans enrolled in Medicare are paying their Medicare premiums monthly from their Social Security check. Social Security will automatically take the Medicare premiums from a person’s Social Security check.

Social Security will send a letter informing the Medicare beneficiary that Social Security is deducting the monthly Medicare Part B premiums from ones Social Security check. Fred this is not your situation.

The average Part B premium for those who income is $87,000 or less as an individual or $174,000 or less as a couple is $144.60, and if you divide your premium of $578.40 by 4 months will equal $144.60 per month.

Medicare has a program that can allow one to pay premiums on a monthly basis by either paying via check, bank draft, debit card or credit cards. The program is called “Medicare Easy Pay.”

An article in Chapter 7 of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, discusses Medicare Easy Pay with a copy of the form with instructions in the “Forms Chapter” on pages 144-146 of the guide.  Or you can visit www.medicare.gov website, which discusses how to set up Medicare Easy Pay and access the form to download to pay monthly.

For those who do not have access to a computer, call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) and to request the Medicare Easy Pay form mailed to you or make a copy from Toni’s Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition.

You can also visit www.mymedicare.gov if you would like to pay by a credit card.  This option is a one-time payment not one automatic monthly.  I turn 65 in May and mailed in a check around April 10 for an April 25 due date.  On April 27 it was not deposited.  When I called Medicare, they said it could take up to 30 days to show up in my bank account and to go online to pay or I may lose my Medicare Part B.  I went online and paid 1 monthly premium of $144.60 by credit card for May to be sure I did not lose my Medicare Part B. I am still waiting for the check to clear my bank.

I understand Medicare!  What is someone to do that is confused?  Keep Medicare premiums current, while waiting for Medicare Easy Pay to be processed.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, is having a $5 Toni Says® readers discount at www.tonisays.com. If you have any questions regarding this article or any Medicare issues reach out to Toni at 832-519-8664 or email at info@tonisays.com.