Congress pitches bill to warn Medicare beneficiaries of late enrollment fees

A bill introduced in Congress would require the government to warn adults 60 and older of penalties associated with late Medicare enrollment, according to a March 2 CNBC report. 

The move targets adults before they reach the Medicare-eligible age of 65, especially those who are not auto-enrolled in coverage through Social Security. The number of beneficiaries who must manually enroll in coverage at age 65 has increased 32 percentage points to 40 percent since 2008, according to CNBC

The bill specifically targets Medicare Part B, which hits enrollees with a penalty equal to 10 percent of the standard premium for each 12 months they should have been enrolled in. The penalties last a lifetime and adjust with premiums. 

Roughly 776,200 enrollees face penalties in 2020. Based on current premiums, monthly penalties would be about $46. 

Medicare Part D also has a penalty, but its rate is 1 percent of premiums paid, or about 33 cents based on current rates.

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