Available Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm ET  |  Call 800-970-1964

800.970.1964   |   Contact Us   |   Client Portal

3 Common Medicare Mistakes

Making a mistake with your Medicare enrollment can have lifelong consequences. There are several severe penalties to make sure you avoid when dealing with Medicare. Below we cover the most important ones and how to avoid them.

Most Common Medicare Penalties

#1: The Part D Penalty

Many of the healthier people we speak with may not be taking any medications at all and therefore, don’t want to pay for a Prescription Drug plan that they do not plan on using. However, if you do not enroll in a Part D drug plan and no not have any other *creditable* drug coverage, you will have a penalty added onto your drug plan once you do sign up for one. The penalty works out to roughly $3/mo for every 12-month period you don’t have a drug plan. So for example, if you wait until age 70 to get a drug plan….that is 5 years x $3/mo = $15/mo added on to your drug plan premium each month indefinitely.

How to avoid? If you don’t have other drug coverage, just get an inexpensive Part D Drug plan so that you avoid the penalty.

You can also eliminate an existing Part D penalty by qualifying for Medicare’s Low Income Subsidy program. 

Helpful Resource: Calculate your penalty using our Part D Penalty Calculator.

Medicare Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard…

Schedule your FREE appointment to have our team answer your questions and make Medicare easy.

#2: The Part B Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP)

If you do not have *creditable coverage* and are eligible to sign up for Medicare Part B but miss your enrollment window, you will be charged a 10% penalty on top of your Part B cost which will stay with you forever. That comes out to roughly $17 extra per month for each 12-month period you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you should have. Yikes!

How to avoid? Simple, sign up for your Part B during the 3 month window before your 65th birthday or as soon as you lose coverage through an employer plan.

Helpful Resource: Calculate your penalty using our Part B Penalty Calculator.

#3: Paying Extra Due To High Income (IRMAA)

If your income is above certain thresholds, the government will add on a “surcharge” to your monthly Part B and Part D premiums. In 2024, those limits are $103,000/yr as an individual and $206,000/yr filing jointly. Note: These income limits are based on your 2022 adjusted gross income. For folks in this situation, Part B can cost up to $594.00/mo and Part D can cost an extra $81.00/mo above your plan premium.

How to avoid? Our team can file an IRMAA appeal form for you to see if you qualify to get out of this surcharge. We see roughly half of appeals get approved, especially if your income will be going down as you enter retirement or if your income was unusually high due to a windfall payment of some sort (sale of property, inheritance, lump sum pension, etc).


Will I Be Penalized If I Delay Medicare to Keep Working?

As long as you maintain creditable coverage from your employer group health plan, you will not have a penalty if you delay your Medicare benefits to continue working.


When it comes to Medicare, the penalties are life-long which means that they will really add up over the course of your lifetime. Its best to simply avoid them and keep that money in your pocket.

Sylvia Gordon, aka Medicare Mama®, is an expert on all things Medicare and Social Security. She is the 2nd Generation here at The Medicare Family and has served on the advisory boards of major insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare®, Cigna, and Anthem. In her free time, she can be found taking care of her animals (dogs, goats, peacocks, chickens), and reading a good book. Learn More.
5-Star Rated

“This was the best experience I’ve ever had dealing with Medicare information.” – Darrell P.

About Us

For 40 years, our family has been helping seniors understand their Medicare benefits and find the best plan for their unique situation – the best part? Our service is always 100% free to you!

Wouldn’t this be

Easier on video?

Reading about Medicare can be confusing…Thats why we took all the important parts and put them into an easy, free video. 

Get Our FREE Medicare & Social Security Cheat Sheet 

Download this FREE printable cheat sheet to get the information you need in one place. You’ll never worry about forgetting a number, date, or deadline again. UPDATED FOR 2024!

Popular Articles

Beginner's Guide to Medicare

Learn how Medicare works, when and how to sign up, and a breakdown of all the coverage options in this easy guide.

3 Common Medicare Mistakes

There are several severe penalties to make sure you avoid when dealing with Medicare. If you get them, they can stay with you for life.

Medicare Costs for 2024

The costs for Medicare change each year. In this article we break down the costs for Medicare premiums and co-pays.