UNITED STATES—Toni: My Medicare began on August 1st and on September 3rd I received my first bill which is $723 for my Medicare Part B. This bill is due September 25th and is not giving me very much time to have this paid.

I do not see this Medicare cost anywhere on the Medicare site and have not received a letter informing me that I will have to pay “extra” because I made too much. I came into the Toni Says office for a Medicare consultation and with my wife’s income we are below the $174,000 yearly income to have to pay more in my Medicare Part B and D monthly premiums.

Why am I being charged the Medicare Part B penalty?  I signed up before I turned 65.  What is wrong?  I thought I would be paying the monthly Part B amount that is around $145. Any suggestions because this has placed an unexpected financial hardship on me?  I am unemployed due to COVID-19.  Thanks, Dennis from Spring, TX.

Dennis: I have great Medicare news for you …. 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 deducted. Security has lumped your months together in the bill which was sent.

Some that are paying their Medicare premiums monthly are having Medicare premiums deducted 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 one’s Social Security check.

Dennis, if you divide your premium of $723 by 5 months, it is exactly $144.60 per month. The average Part B premium for those with income of $87,000 or less as an individual or $174,000 or less as a couple is $144.60 for 2020.

Medicare has two programs that can allow one to pay premiums monthly.  One is by going online to your secure MyMedicare.gov account (or create an account at www.MyMedicare.gov) to pay by credit card or debit card. Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, a free service that automatically deducts your premium payments from your savings or checking account each month.

One can GOOGLE “Medicare Easy Pay” online or search on the Medicare.gov website at www.medicare.gov website for the Medicare Easy Pay form.  It is not hard to set up Medicare Easy Pay to pay monthly, but it does take time.

Until you can set up a monthly payment from your checking or savings account with “Medicare Easy Pay” then you can pay your Medicare bill at your www.MyMedicare.gov account.

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 drafted monthly from your checking account. Until that takes place then use www.mymedicare.gov. Make sure that your monthly premiums are being paid, so that your Medicare Parts A, B, C and/or D premiums are current.

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. Coming October 7th Confused about Medicare Zoom Webinar discussing Medicare’s Annual Enrollment and what your Medicare options for fall’s Medicare Annual Enrollment can be.