There are some risks to dropping coverage:
- Your costs for health care: You may have to pay all of the costs for services that Medicare covers, like hospital stays, doctors’ services, medical supplies, and preventive services.
- Gap in coverage: If you change your mind and want to sign up again later, you may have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period (January 1-March 31 each year) to sign up. Your coverage starts the month after you sign up.
- Late enrollment penalty: If you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to get Medicare later, you’ll have to pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The penalty goes up the longer you go without Part B coverage. If you have to pay a penalty for Part A, you’ll pay it for twice as long as you go without Part A coverage.
2 ways to drop coverage
To drop Part B (or Part A if you have to pay a premium for it), you usually need to send your request in writing and include your signature.
- Contact Social Security.
- If you recently got a welcome packet saying you automatically got Medicare Part A and Part B, follow the instructions in your welcome packet, and send your Medicare card back. If you keep the card, you agree to keep Part B, and you’ll start paying the monthly Part B premium.
You pay premiums for any months you have Part B (or Premium-Part A) coverage. Your coverage will end at the end of the month, the month after you file the request. For example, if you file the request on April 5th, your coverage would end on May 31. If you change your mind about cancelling your coverage, you need to contact SSA before the date your coverage ends. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
If you’re dropping Part B and keeping Part A, we’ll send you a new Medicare card showing you have only Part A coverage. Write down your Medicare Number in case you need to go to the hospital or get Part A-covered services until your new card arrives.
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