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Does Medicare allow monthly payments for Part B premiums?

Dear Toni: My Medicare begins Sept. 1 and I have received my first bill for $660. This bill is for four months, from September to December. I thought Medicare was a monthly premium of $164.90. What if I pay the outrageous premium, then I cannot afford my car payment.

This bill for Medicare is due Aug. 25. Does Medicare allow monthly payments for the Part B premium? I cannot have my Medicare premium taken from my Social Security check because I work and make more than Social Security allows without having to pay a penalty since I am not at my “full retirement age.” — Jackie, Dallas

Dear Jackie: You are correct that Americans can pay their Medicare premiums monthly by having the premium taken from their Social Security check. Social Security will automatically deduct the premiums and send a letter informing the Medicare beneficiary (you) that the monthly Medicare Part B premiums are being deducted from your check.

Because you are enrolled in Medicare and have a Medicare card, I would advise you to open a Medicare.gov account. In your Medicare account is information such as:

■ Your Medicare Part A and Part B enrollment dates.

■ The Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan you are enrolled in.

■ Medicare claims.

■ How to print a copy of your Medicare card and other information regarding your Medicare account.

■ And the option to pay your Medicare premium monthly via credit card, debit card or from your checking account. This can be set up on the Medicare.gov website. Beneficiaries may also use a Health Savings Account debit card to pay for the Medicare premium if they have one.

I would urge you to set up your Medicare.gov account as quickly as possible and pay your Medicare bill immediately. If you would like to have your premium deducted directly from your bank account monthly, then use the Medicare Easy Pay option.

I started my Social Security check at my full retirement age, and my Medicare premiums are now deducted from it. Before receiving my Social Security check, I would pay my Medicare premium using a credit card on my Medicare.gov account.

If a Medicare beneficiary does not stay current with their Medicare premium payments, then they can lose their benefits and may be charged a penalty when they re-enroll into Medicare.

For those not receiving their Social Security check, the Medicare Part D prescription drug premiums need to be paid directly to the Part D insurance company. They are not paid via the Medicare site.

Once one begins receiving a Social Security check, then both Medicare Part B and Part D prescription drug premiums can be taken from their Social Security check.

Toni King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance issues. If you have a Medicare question, email info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.

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