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Seniors beware of Medicare penalty

When Annalis Hall retired from the Post Office in 2012 she was happy with her health insurance so she stuck with it. Hall, a postal worker for nearly 28, said she and her husband Bruce opted to stay on her employer’s health plan when she turned 65 and eligible for Medicare. What she didn’t know was that she could be penalized later on if she decided to enroll in a part of the Medicare plan (Plan B) that covers things like doctor’s visits and ambulance services.

She didn’t know until just recently, that is. Annalis learned that her former employer would no longer offer the plan that she and Bruce had been on. There were other plans her employer offered, but Annalis said it was time to consider taking Part B. That’s when she learned she would probably be subject to the penalty.

“When I signed up for Social Security I was told I didn’t need Medicare because I had health insurance from my employer,” said Annalis, 68. She also recalls being told she would not be penalized for failing to sign up for Part B after she became Medicare eligible.

“There’s a lot of misinformation — and sources of misinformation,” said Terri Haley, coordinator of services for Ontario County Office for the Aging.

“In general, there is a 10 percent penalty for every year you fail to enroll in Part B,” she said.

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