Can You Sign Up For Medicare After Age 65
Hereâs the gist: you can decide not to sign up for Medicare, but if you donât have some kind of health coverage, youâll be penalized when you do eventually sign up.
If youâve had credible coverage, such as group health insurance through your employer, youâre free to sign up for Medicare with no penalties.
However, if you just chose to put it off for whatever reason, there will be a penalty on your monthly premium, which is 10% for each year that you could have had Part B but didnât sign up for it.
Again â no one likes penalties, so if youâre confused or just want to make sure you have it figured out, please ask our team to review your Medicare plan.
Your First Chance To Sign Up
Generally, when you turn 65. This is called your Initial Enrollment Period. It lasts for 7 months, starting 3 months before you turn 65, and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Avoid the penaltyIf you miss your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The penalty goes up the longer you wait. You may also have to pay a penalty if you have to pay a Part A premium, also called Premium-Part A.
What If The Non
If the non-working spouse is older than the working spouse, the non-working spouse can qualify on on the working spouses work record if they are at least 62, since that is when qualification for Social Security begins. In this case, if the working spouse is still working, the non-working spouse should stay on the work health insurance and just take Part A, as Part A is premium free for most people. If the working spouse is no longer employed, the non-working spouse should go ahead and apply for coverage fully from Medicare. If the working spouse is younger than 62, the non-working spouse will not be able to claim on the record. In this case, when they are 65, and assuming they have lived in the US for 5 consecutive years, they can purchase Part A and Part B and pay full premiums until the working spouse turns 62. Purchasing Medicare is not cheap, Part A can be as much as $422 a month in 2018. Make sure to consult a qualified professional before making this decision.
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Options For Employees With Large Employer Coverage
The first, and possibly the most favored option is delaying Medicare enrollment. The reason you can do this is that your employee group plan acts as your creditable coverage. When you have , you are able to delay signing up for Medicare until you lose that creditable coverage.
There are no penalties because your employer coverage is primary, and Medicare is secondary. Many people enroll in Part A and delay Parts B and D until they retire.
However, you may not want to delay Medicare. Your answer to the fourth and final question will help you determine whether you want to enroll in Medicare and let it coordinate with your employer coverage or delay Medicare to save yourself from paying unnecessary Part B and D premiums while you are still working.
Why Are You Forced Into Medicare
If you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years in a job where Medicare taxes were withheld , you’ll become automatically eligible for Medicare once you turn 65.
Recent immigrants are not eligible for Medicare, but once they’ve been legal permanent residents for five years and are at least 65, they have the option to purchase Medicare coverageas opposed to getting Medicare Part A for freewhich is the same option available to long-term U.S. residents who, for one reason or another, don’t have a work history that gives them access to premium-free Medicare Part A . Note that immigrants who go on to work for at least 10 years in the US do then become eligible for premium-free Part A Medicare if they’re 65 or older, just like anyone else who has paid into the Medicare system for at least a decade.
Once you become eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, you have to enroll in Medicare Part A or you forfeit your Social Security benefits. Most individuals are unwilling to forfeit their Social Security benefits, and thus accept the enrollment into Medicare. Note that you’re only required to accept Medicare Part Awhich is premium-free if you’re receiving Social Security benefitsin order to retain your Social Security benefits. You are allowed to reject Medicare Part Bwhich has a premiumif you choose to do so, although you could be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you choose to enroll in Part B at a later date. .
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What If I Havent Worked Long Enough Or At All
If you havent worked enough in your lifetime to earn the necessary 40 credits, it may be possible to qualify for Medicare Part A benefits based on your spouses work history.
In order to qualify for this provision, you must be 65 or older and your spouse must be at least 62 or older. In some cases, you can still receive the benefits if you are 65 and divorced or if you are a widow.
If you are currently married and your spouse qualifies for social security benefits and Medicare Part A premiums, you can apply as long as you have been married for at least a year prior to submitting the application.
If you are divorced, you may be eligible if your former spouse is, as long as you were married for at least ten years. You must also be currently single.
You can also qualify if your spouse has passed away. You must have been married for at least nine months before the death of your spouse and you must be single.
Delaying Your Medicare Enrollment Could Be A Costly Mistake
Countless seniors rely on Medicare for health coverage in retirement. But knowing when to sign up can help you make the most of your benefits while avoiding needless penalties.
Your coverage under Medicare kicks in at exactly 65, but you don’t need to wait until your 65th birthday to sign up. Rather, your initial enrollment window starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month in which you turn 65. So, all told, you get a solid seven months to sign up.
Now if you miss that initial enrollment window, you can still sign up during Medicare’s general enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1 through March 31 each year. But not signing up during your initial enrollment period could end up costing you a higher Part B premium — for life.
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Your Medicare Special Enrollment Period
If your employer has at least 20 employees and youre still working and covered under that plan when you turn 65, you can delay your enrollment in Medicare . In that case, youll get an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare if and when you leave your job or your employer stops offering coverage. It will start the month after you separate from your employer, or the month after your group health coverage ends whichever happens sooner.
Sign up during those eight months, and you wont have to worry about premium surcharges for being late. And the eight-month special enrollment period is also available if youre delaying Part B enrollment because youre covered under your spouses employer-sponsored plan, assuming their employer has at least 20 employees.
But note that in either case, it has to be a current employer. If youre covered under COBRA or a retiree plan, you wont avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty when you eventually enroll, and you wont have access to a special enrollment period to sign up for Part B youll have to wait for the general enrollment period instead.
What Are My Choices Of Medigap Policies
The federal government has standardized Medicare Supplement plans. You receive the same coverage no matter which insurance company sells you the Medigap plan. Premiums for the same policy can vary between insurance companies. But, only the quoted price and the reputation of the insurer will vary.
There are ten separate plans, labeled A through N. Two plans, C and F, are no longer offered to newly eligible beneficiaries. You can find the specific benefits that each plan covers in this comparative chart.
Once you decide how much coverage you want, you can check online or contact an insurance agent or broker for quotes.
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If The Employer Has Fewer Than 20 Employees
The laws that prohibit large insurers from requiring Medicare-eligible employees to drop the employer plan and sign up for Medicare do not apply to companies and organizations that employ fewer than 20 people. In this situation, the employer decides.
If the employer does require you to enroll in Medicare, then Medicare automatically becomes primary and the employer plan provides secondary coverage. In other words, Medicare settles your medical bills first, and the group plan only pays for services that it covers but Medicare doesnt. Therefore, if you fail to sign up for Medicare when required, you will essentially be left with no coverage.
Its therefore extremely important to ask the employer whether you are required to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 or receive Medicare on the basis of disability. If so, find out exactly how the employer plan will fit in with Medicare. If not, ask for that decision in writing.
Note that in this situation, signing up for Medicare Part B when you also have employer insurance will not jeopardize your chances of buying Medigap supplemental insurance after the employment ends. When Medicare is primary to the employer plan, you have the right to buy Medigap with full federal protections if you do so within 63 days of the employer coverage ending.
The Cost Equation: Will Medicare Save You Money
If your employer requires you to pay a large portion of the premium on your group health insurance, you may find Medicare cheaper and the coverage adequate. So compare your current coverage and out-of-pocket expenses including premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance with your costs and benefits under Medicare, which may also pay some expenses not covered by your group plan.
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D Late Enrollment Penalty
The Part D late enrollment penalty is similar to the Part B late enrollment penalty, in that you have to keep paying it for as long as you have Part D coverage. But it’s calculated a little differently. For each month that you were eligible but didn’t enroll , you’ll pay an extra 1% of the national base beneficiary amount.
In 2020, the national base beneficiary amount is $32.74/month. Medicare Part D premiums vary significantly from one plan to another, but the penalty amount isn’t based on a percentage of your specific planit’s based instead on a percentage of the national base beneficiary amount. Just as with other parts of Medicare, Part D premiums change from one year to the next, and the national base beneficiary amount generally increases over time.
So a person who delayed Medicare Part D enrollment by 27 months would be paying an extra $8.84/month , on top of their Part D plan’s monthly premium in 2020. A person who had delayed their Part D enrollment by 52 months would be paying an extra $17.02/month. As time goes by, that amount could increase if the national base beneficiary amount increases . People subject to the Part D late enrollment penalty can pick from among several plans, with varying premiums. But the Part D penalty will continue to be added to their premiums for as long as they have Part D coverage.
Medicare Part A: If Its Free Why Not Take It
If by the time you reach 65 youve worked a total of approximately 10 years over your career, youre entitled to premium-free Medicare Part A, which pays for in-patient hospital charges and more.
Why sign up for more hospital insurance when an employer plan already provides good coverage at low cost to you? Because in some cases, Medicare Part A may cover what your employer plan does not.
But as with so many aspects of Medicare, there are caveats, exceptions and potential pitfalls.
If the employer has 20 or more employees: If your or your spouse’s employer has 20 or more employees and a group health plan, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare at 65 if it doesn’t make financial sense.
If the employer has fewer than 20 employees: If your or your spouse’s employer has fewer than 20 employees and the health coverage is not part of a multiemployer group plan, at age 65 you must enroll in Medicare Part A, which will be your primary insurance. Primary means that Medicare pays first, and then the employer insurance kicks in to pay whatever might be covered under that policy but was not covered by Part A.
If you have an HSA and want to keep contributing: If you’re saving to a Health Savings Account and wish to keep doing so, you must delay enrollment in Medicare Part A , because Medicare enrollees can’t contribute to an HSA. In fact, to avoid a tax penalty, you should plan to stop making HSA contributions at least six months prior to signing up for Medicare.
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When You Still Have Health Coverage At 65
If you’re still working by the time you turn 65, and your employer offers health insurance, you don’t need to sign up for Medicare at that time — and you don’t have to worry about the aforementioned Part B penalty, either. As long as your company employs 20 people or more, you can hold off on Medicare and stay on your company’s group plan for as long as it remains available to you.
That said, you might as well sign up for Medicare Part A because doing so won’t cost you anything. Even if you have health coverage through your employer, it can act as a secondary form of insurance in case you need it. However, if you’re eligible for a health savings account and intend to take advantage of one, you’ll want to hold off on enrolling even in Part A.
So what happens once your group health coverage runs out, either because your company stops offering it or you stop working there? At that point, you’ll get a special enrollment window to sign up for Medicare that will last for eight months. As long as you enroll during that time, you’ll get the coverage you need without having to worry about penalties.
Incidentally, the same rules apply if you’re married and are covered through your spouse’s group health plan. It doesn’t matter that you’re not the one who’s actually working.
Making Prescription Drugs Free For People 65 And Over
Expanding OHIP+ Will Make Prescription Drugs Free for Nearly One in Two Ontarians
Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced Ontarios plan to make prescription drugs free for people 65 and over, ensuring millions of people can afford the care they need during this period of economic change and uncertainty.
Through an expansion of OHIP+, more than 4,400 prescription drugs will be available free of charge to everyone 65 and over. The Premier was joined by Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Helena Jaczek and Minister of Seniors Affairs Dipika Damerla at the Leaside Curling Club to lay out the governments plan to expand OHIP+ and make life more affordable for 2.6 million seniors and their families.
Starting August 1, 2019, anyone aged 65 or older will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment and would be able to present their eligible prescription and OHIP number at any Ontario pharmacy and receive their medication for free. On January 1, 2018, Ontario introduced OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare, which made eligible prescription drugs free for everyone 24 and under and is the largest expansion of medicare in a generation. By expanding OHIP+ to seniors in Budget 2018, people 65 and over will now save an average of $240 every year. Prescription drugs covered by this program include medications for cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid conditions, diabetes and asthma.
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Do I Need To Sign Up For Medicare When I Turn 65
It depends on how you get your health insurance now and the number of employees that are in the company where you work.
Generally, if you have job-based health insurance through your current job, you dont have to sign up for Medicare while you are still working. You can wait to sign up until you stop working or you lose your health insurance .
- If youre self-employed or have health insurance thats not available to everyone at the company: Ask your insurance provider if your coverage is employer group health plan coverage If its not, sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty.
- If the employer has less than 20 employees: You might need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 so you dont have gaps in your job-based health insurance. Check with the employer.
If you have COBRA coverage: Sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid gaps in coverage and a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty. If you have COBRA before signing up for Medicare, your COBRA will probably end once you sign up. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you don’t qualify for COBRA coverage without having to pay a premium.