You’re turning 65 and continuing to work. In most cases you have the option to stay on your employer health insurance plan. That’s great. It’s still important to review your Medicare rights and timelines now so that you don’t miss any opportunities. When your working days are over you’ll be set to move onto Medicare penalty free and without waiting periods. Consult with an independent Medicare insurance agent who can quickly review your situation and help you map out a long term plan. Center for Long Term Care Planning will do this with you at no cost to you.
The most common questions ask a few months before you turn 65 are:
Should I enroll in the free Medicare Part A hospital insurance? Part A is generally free if you have at least ten years of work history. You can sign up for Part A at age 65 while you are still covered by your employer plan. If you’re not filing for Social Security, you need to actively enroll in Part A on the Social Security website. Keep in mind you will no longer be able to make HSA contributions if you have Part A.
Do I need to enroll in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)? Part B has a standard monthly premium of $135.50 in 2019. Premiums scale up for higher incomes. Generally, it is not necessary to sign up for Part B if you have creditable coverage through your work. But the rules are different for smaller employers and you may be required to enroll in Part B. Be sure to check with your employer if you are not certain. An independent Medicare insurance agent can help advise you.
Failing to enroll in Part B when required can lead to delays in enrollment and penalties when you finally sign up. It can also cause you to lose guaranteed issue for a Medicare Supplement policy.
What about Medicare Part D – Prescription Drug Plans? If your employer plan provides drug coverage there is no need to enroll in Part D. You will have a special election period to enroll penalty free when you leave the employer plan. You must do so in the required time frame.
Are there any unique circumstances that affect my Medicare Enrollment? For instance, business owners may have a different status that affects their Medicare guaranteed issue rights when leaving an employer plan after age 65.
Are there times when I should choose Medicare over Employer insurance? Generally speaking, employer insurance is cost effective and provides comprehensive coverage for employees and spouses. But, If the employee premium share for you or your spouse is high, the employer plan has a restrictive network AND you or your spouse has a serious medical condition, you might be better off on Medicare. Original Medicare allows you to see any doctor or practitioner that accepts Medicare anywhere in the country. This puts you in control of selecting top quality, specialized care. This freedom to choose your doctors could vastly improve your quality of life.
Once your turn 65, you can switch from an employer plan to Medicare at any time even if you keep working. So, down the road, if the plan at work is not working for you – you can switch to Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan with no medical questions asked. Once you leave the employer plan you may not be able to switch back. You can consult with an independent Medicare insurance agent to help you do the comparison.