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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Missed Medicare Part B enrollment

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: While teaching school in Texas, I did not pay into Social Security. Two and a half healthy years after turning 65 I suddenly discovered my Teacher Retirement Policy is a supplement and that I was eligible for Medicare Part B at age 65 but did not know it at the time. I can enroll in Medicare Part B in January 2007 and it becomes effective in July 2007 (if I understand correctly.) Meanwhile I have 9 months of no primary insurance. I am trying to find temporary coverage to cover me for the 9 months. Where can I find it?

A: Just to clarify, we assume that you are covered by Medicare Part A for hospitalization and are waiting for the special enrollment for Part B for outpatient care. The problem is that commercial health insurance companies intentionally do not offer an alternative to Medicare Part B or otherwise people may be tempted to opt out of Medicare and that would be in opposition to the intent of federal policy. So the answer is that outpatient expenses will be your own burden until and unless you qualify for Medicaid if your financial resources are exhausted.


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