The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times reader to columnist Kevin Moss, a senior editor at Consumers’ Checkbook and expert on federal employee health insurance plans for civil servants, retirees and their families.

The question and response have been edited for clarity and confidentiality.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“If I sign up for Medicare Part B seven months after my last day of work, does this mean I avoid paying the Part B premium (and IRMAA) for seven months?

While I wouldn’t have Part B coverage for those seven months, I intend to keep my FEHB plan in retirement anyway. I believe I’d incur a financial penalty if I don’t sign up within eight months of my last day of work, but I’d make sure to meet that deadline.

So why not avoid the high premiums for seven months?”

Kevin’s response:

You have up to eight months to enroll in Part B after your employment ends to avoid a Part B late enrollment penalty.

You could avoid paying the Part B premium and IRMAA by waiting until the end of your Part B special enrollment period to enroll in Part B.

Have a question about your FEHB plan or the federal insurance marketplace? Send your query to

Kevin Moss works for Consumers' Checkbook, a nonprofit dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions. He leads the production of Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, a decision support tool that helps federal employees and annuitants find the FEHB plan that's the best fit.

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