How to Pay Your Medicare Premium

Here is information on how to pay your Medicare premium. If you are collecting Social Security, your Medicare premium (for Part B) will be taken out of your Social Security Check.

How to pay your Medicare premium if you are not collecting Social Security.

PAY BY CHECK: If you are not collecting Social Security, you will get a bill in the mail from CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid). The bill will ask you for three months payment – and then they would send you a bill every three months.

Be sure you don’t miss a payment because your Medicare Part B will be cancelled if you do not pay on time. If you are one month late, they will let you catch up. Miss two months and….. CMS will cut you off and they don’t care what your excuse is.

PAY BY AUTO-DRAFT FROM YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT: If you pay your car loan through recurring payments from your checking account, you can easily set up recurring payments through your bank account.

  • Go to your bank account on line.
  • Find where you can set up bill payments.
  • Select the payee from a pull-down list. (Select “Medicare insurance“.)
  • Select the date for the payment to be sent. Medicare wants next month’s payment by the 25th of the previous month, so pick the 20th.
  • Click the recurring payment button.
  • Put in the payment amount. ($135.50 for 2019)
  • Be sure to check your account on the 20th of the month so you know the payment got sent to Medicare.

PAY BY CREDIT CARD: To set up your payments using your credit card, you must send in the bill you received from CMS with the credit card information filled in. And you must sign the form.

Paying your Medicare premium by credit card is a bit risky. What if you lose your card and you cancel it? And then, if you don’t get your Medicare premium set up again, you can get into trouble if you miss more than one payment.

MEDICARE PREMIUM PAYMENT HORROR STORIES

Andrea (not her real name) was paying her Medicare premium every three months by sending in a check when she received her bill. Andrea is afraid to do anything online. She missed a payment and got caught up. A few months later, she missed another payment. She paid late but got caught up.

Then Andrea’s daughter died and Andrea went into a deep depression. She did not read her mail and, of course, she did not pay her bills. She missed three months of her Medicare premium payment.

She called me in a panic when she went to the doctor and was told that her Medicare was cancelled. (The doctor’s office always checks your insurance to make sure it is current.) I told Andrea to go down to the local Social Security office and tell them what happened.

This was in November and Andrea got back to me with bad news. Social Security told her, “Too bad, but we cannot help you. You must re-enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period” (January through March).

But….. Andrea’s Medicare Part B would not start again until…… JULY.

Yes, that is the rule. If you lose your Medicare part B because you did not pay your Medicare premium, you can only get it back in July – and that is if you re-apply in January, February, or March. If you realize in April of 2019 that your Part B got cancelled….. You cannot get Part B back until….. July of 2020. That is the rule and no exceptions are made – unless your income is below the level where your state will pay your Part B premium.

Another client called me the other day to tell me she has been paying her Medicare premium from her checking account through auto-pay. But….. it is February and she just got a letter from CMS saying she is behind in her payments because the Part B premium went from $134 in 2018 to $135.50 in 2019.

Beth probably got a letter from CMS in December to inform her of the Medicare premium increase for 2019. And she should have changed the recurring payment from her checking account – but she forgot to do that.

Beth is going to get caught up and will put the new Medicare premium into her auto-pay. Beth plans to wait until she is 70 to collect her Social Security, so she will need to remember to change her auto-pay at the end of every year.

Be sure not to miss paying your Medicare premium, or face dire consequences.

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