What is the Penalty for Canceling Medicare Part B?

by David Bynon, last updated

Can You Cancel Medicare Part B?

Yes, you can cancel Medicare Part B coverage. Part B, your medical coverage, is an option, not a requirement. However, Medicare can charge you an additional 10% for each 12-month period you could have been enrolled in Part B.

Two instances allow you to avoid the penalty:

  1. You have insurance based on your or your spouse’s current work (job-based insurance); or
  2. You are eligible for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP).

If assessed, you must pay the Part B penalty every month for as long as you have Medicare. If you have  Medicare due to a disability, and pay the Part B premium penalty, the penalty will expire when you turn age 65.

How To Calculate Your Premium Penalty?

If you did not sign up for Medicare Part B when first eligible, or you canceled and now want to start coverage again, here’s how to calculate your premium penalty.

Let’s say you delayed or canceled Part B enrollment for five years. Your monthly premium would increase by 50% for as long as you’re on Medicare (5 years x 10%). In 2023, the base Part B premium is $164.90. That means your monthly premium, including the penalty, will be $247.35 ($164.90 x 0.5 + $164.90).

It’s important to note that the penalty is calculated on the base Part B premium. If you pay an IRMAA surcharge due to your income, it is not a penalty factor.

How to Cancel Medicare Part B

Part B cancellation is a process. The first step is to download and print Form CMS 1763.  Leave it blank. You are required to complete the form during an interview with a Social Security Administration (SSA) representative. You can do so by phone or in person.

You can schedule an interview by following these SSA instructions. Use the Social Security Office Locator to find your nearest location, if you want an in-person interview.

During your interview, complete Form CMS 1763 as directed. If you have a Medicare card, you’ll be asked to return it. After your Medicare Part B benefit is suspended, Medicare will issue a new card for Part A only. Write down your Medicare Number in case you need Part A-covered services before your new card arrives.

How to Cancel Medicare Online

Unfortunately, Medicare has not made it possible to cancel Medicare Part A or Part B coverage online. You must call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) to set up an appointment.

Form to Cancel Medicare Part B

Form CMS 1763 is the form you need to complete to terminate Medicare Part B. Download it here.

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