Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad
Introducing RealPad by AARP
AARP Auto Buying Program

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Social Security Mailbox

Penalty for Delaying Medicare Sign-up

Should a veteran keep Medicare Part B?

Q. I get my medical coverage from the Veterans Administration because of post-traumatic stress disorder. I have Medicare Part B insurance, but the VA does not bill Medicare. Should I continue having the cost of Medicare Part B taken out of my Social Security check?

A. This is a personal decision, one that only you can make. But before you make any choice, you need to fully understand the potential consequences of terminating your Medicare Part B coverage.

For example, if you drop Medicare and then need to use health care providers outside the VA system — suppose you're taken to a non-VA hospital in an emergency — you will have to pay the bills yourself. Moreover, even though the VA cannot bill Medicare, it can bill any Medicare supplemental health insurance (medigap) coverage that you might have for Medicare-covered conditions. That coverage could be valuable.

Also, if you later change your mind about Medicare and want to re-enroll, you will have to pay a penalty to get back in. Your monthly premium will increase 10 percent for each 12-month period you were eligible but not enrolled.

Help with your decision is available from both Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and from the VA Health Benefits office at 1-877-222-8387. Both offices will probably tell you to look before you leap.

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services, 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

Mujer en la parte de afuera de so negocio

Free quotes for members from the AARP® Small Business Insurance Program.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Explore Your Learning Possiblities