UNITED STATES—Toni: My husband, John and I need your guidance because I believe I have made a mistake enrolling in Medicare. Last year, John was laid off and lost his employer health insurance. I have enrolled in Medicare since I am turning 65 in August. John is a Veteran and is receiving his healthcare from the VA, so he did not have to enroll in Medicare and his healthcare is not costing us anything.

Why is my Medicare costing me an extra $499 for Medicare Part A and $170.10 for Medicare Part B? I thought Medicare Part A was free. Is there a form that I did not fill out? I have not worked very much since we married 40+ years ago and was a stay-at-home Mom and now I am the caretaker for our elderly parents.

Please explain what I should do to correct my Medicare mistake. Thank you, Susan from Cleveland, Ohio.

Susan: Most Americans do not realize that they must work a certain amount of time and pay employment taxes to have Medicare Part A with no premium. This is what your problem is and the Toni Says® Medicare office can help you solve your problem.

To qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, you must have worked and paid Social Security and Medicare taxes from your payroll check for at least 10 years or 40 quarters (paying taxes).. When you sign up for Medicare Part A, if you are not working full-time with yours or your spouse’s employer benefits, you may want to enroll in Part B, which has a monthly premium.

The premium for Medicare Part A is $499 each month if you do not qualify for premium free Medicare Part A. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters not 40 quarters, then the standard Part A premium is $274 each month.

Those who did not work or pay into the Social Security System for at least 10 years  or 40 quarters and have been married for 10 years or longer, should apply for Medicare under their working spouse’s Social Security number that qualifies with the proper amount of employment time for Medicare.

If one never married or lives with someone as a domestic partner and did not work enough quarters, they will have to pay for their Medicare Part A premium.

My advice to you Susan would be to call your local Social Security office, since it is the government office which oversees America in Medicare enrollment. Explain that you have always been a stay-at-home spouse, but your husband has worked enough quarters to qualify and you need to appeal your Medicare Part A premium of $499. Tell the Social Security representative that you are seeking premium-free Medicare Part A, due to your husband having enough quarters.

Social Security will look over both yours and your husband’s Social Security accounts to verify that he has enough quarters to qualify. Be prepared to provide a certified marriage license showing you are married, and you will have to provide the original certified marriage license (not a copy) to that specific Social Security office.

For Medicare enrollment questions either call your local Social Security office specific 800 number or call the Toni Says Medicare hotline at 832-519-8664 for help.

Toni King, Medicare author/advocate is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the new 2022 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Call 832-519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com.