UNITED STATES─Toni: My Medicare began on November 1st and on December 16th I received my first bill which is $704.80 for my Medicare Part B. This bill is due December 25th and it is only giving me 10 days to pay which making this not a very Merry Christmas or Happy New Year.

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 thought the monthly Part B amount would be around $135. Any suggestions because this has placed an unexpected financial hardship on me. Thanks, David from Conroe .

David: Great Medicare news for you David…. You are not being charged EXTRA or a penalty!! You have been charged for 5 months of Medicare Part B premiums because you are not receiving a Social Security check to have your Medicare premiums taken out of. Feel better now!

Most that are paying their Medicare premiums monthly have the premium taken from their Social Security check. Social Security will automatically take the Medicare premiums monthly 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. David 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 $135.50 for 2019 and $144.60 for 2020. David, if you divide your premiums of $ by 5 months is around $141 per month. Which is $135.50 per month for November and December and $144.60 for January thru March.

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.”

One can GOOGLE “Medicare Easy Pay” online or search on the www.medicare.gov website for Medicare Easy Pay to set up Medicare Easy Pay or form to download to pay monthly.

If one does not stay current paying their Medicare premiums, whether it is Part A, B, C and/or D, then they can lose their benefits and may be charged a penalty when they re-enroll.(When one does not have 40 working quarters to qualify for Medicare, then they may have to pay a premium for Part A.)

It may take about 6-8 weeks to have the “Medicare Easy Pay” form processed and you should make sure that you keep up with your monthly premiums being paid, so that your Medicare Parts A, B, C and/or D are kept on a current basis.

David, I am proud to announce that the Toni Says Medicare team now has a Toni Says Medicare hotline at 832-519-8664 to help America answer questions concerning the maze of Medicare.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book to the Toni Says Medicare column readers at www.tonisays.com.