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*Updated 1/2/24

Medicare Part B – How to Defer or Decline Until You’re Ready

Working past age 65?  Have a spouse on your health insurance that isn’t 65 yet?  If you’re deferring Part B for any reason, when you eventually do sign up for Medicare Part B, Medicare is going to want you to prove you had “credible coverage” for the period you deferred Part B.  This could be you’re still on your employer-based health insurance, on your spouse’s plan or had your own ACA plan.  Either way, if you decline Medicare Part B I strongly urge you plan pretty far in advance when you do eventually sign up for Part D when you’re coming off your other health insurance.  Most people find it helpful to use a Medicare insurance agent leading up to this decision and through the entire process. He or she should be able to help you not miss any deadlines.

How to Defer Medicare Part B

Deciding to do this on your own? Remember, for most of us, when you turn sixty-five, you’ll get Medicare Part A automatically. You’ll also get Medicare Part B automatically if you’re drawing Social Security. However, suppose you don’t want Medicare Part B? In that case, there’s a form in the packet you get before age sixty-five that you can fill out that will allow you to defer Medicare Part B until a later date. If you want to temporarily opt out of Part B until later, here’s how to do it.

If your Medicare hasn’t started yet, there are two ways to drop Part B:

1. If you were automatically enrolled in both Part A and Part B and were sent a Medicare card, follow the instructions that come with the card and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums.

  1. If you signed up for Medicare through Social Security, contact Social Security. If your Medicare has started and you want to drop Part B, contact Social Security for instructions on how to submit a signed request. Your coverage will end the first day of the month after Social Security gets your request. 

The phone number for Social Security is 800-772-1213. Again, if you want to visit a Social Security office, you can find one near you using their search tool. You can find that on my website in my helpful links section.

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Author Bio Matt Feret is the author of the Prepare for Social Security -The Insider’s Guide and the Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide book series and launched PrepareforSocialSecurity.com to help people get objective answers to questions about Social Security and Medicare. Matt is also the host of The Matt Feret Show. He has held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in sales, marketing, operations, product development, and strategy for over two decades.