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COBRA coverage, group employer plans for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and retiree health plans may not be considered creditable coverage for Medicare Part B. With one of these plans, you would not avoid the Part B enrollment penalty. Medicare would be the primary payer for health services, while these plans are secondary. These plans, however, may qualify as creditable coverage to avoid the Part D enrollment penalty. Here’s a breakdown of those penalties:

• Part B: Individuals pay a surcharge of 10 percent of their Part B standard premium for each 12-month period they fail to enroll.
• Part D: The penalty is 1 percent of the “national base beneficiary premium” per month. In 2021, the national base beneficiary premium is $33.06 per month. This 1 percent penalty is applied to the total number of months an individual is without creditable coverage. This surcharge is added to the Part D premiums.

Please note: You should verify that your current insurance is considered creditable coverage for Medicare purposes to avoid these permanent surcharges.