What If Youre Still Working At 65
If youre still working at 65 and receiving health insurance through your employer, you may still need to sign up for Medicare. If your company offers health insurance and has fewer than 20 employees, your health insurer will refuse to pay for costs that Medicare would have covered. Signing up for Medicare will ensure that those costs are covered.
If your company has more than 20 employees, its still a good idea to enroll in free Part A coverage right away. Your coverage will be free since you already paid Medicare taxes. However, if you have a Health Savings Account, you wont be able to contribute to it once you enroll in Medicare, even if you only enroll in Part A.
Special Situations: Previous Employers Military Vets
If you have health insurance from a previous employer, such as your or your spouses COBRA or retiree health coverage, you need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65.
If you have health benefits as a military service member or veteran, such as TRICARE or CHAMPVA, you should consult with those programs to determine when to enroll in Medicare.
Its complicated, so get all the advice you need.
Medicare processes and rules are complex and rife with exceptions if you overlook something in the enrollment rules, you may pay a high price in terms of both penalties and gaps in coverage. So you should consult with Medicare and with the benefits administrator for your employer coverage before you enroll or decide to delay enrollment.
About the author:John Rossheim is an editor and writer specializing in health care and workforce trends. His work has appeared in The Washington Post and on MSN, Monster and dozens of other websites.Read more
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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Are You Required To Sign Up For Medicare At Age 65
Not everybody needs to sign up for Medicare when they turn 65, but most people do, says Kline. If you are currently working and have creditable coverage , you dont have to sign up for Medicare Part B. The same goes for if your spouse is working for a company that has creditable coverage and youre on your spouses plan.
One thing that trips up some people is assuming that their retiree health plan will fully cover them. If you or your spouse is on a retiree plan, normally when you turn 65, those plans become secondary. What that means is if you dont sign up for Medicare , your secondary coverage wont work, says Kline. Employer plans that cover fewer than 20 employees will also be secondary coverage. If youre not sure, call your plan provider and ask.
Another error some people make is assuming that if they have COBRA coverage that they dont need to sign up for Medicare. Even though its the exact same coverage you had when youre working, that is never creditable, says Kline.
If you dont sign up during your IEP or have creditable coverage, a Late Enrollment Penalty may be assessed.
Do You Have To Be On Medicare At 65
When you turn 65 years old, youâre eligible to sign up for Medicare.
Original Medicare is made up of 2 main parts: Part A and Part B .
As long as youâve worked at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes, Medicare Part A is actually free to have, meaning that you donât have a monthly premium to pay. Thereâs really no downside to having Part A when you turn 65.
Do you have to have Part A when you turn 65? No. Is there any downside to having Part A when you turn 65? No. Thatâs why you donât actually have to sign up for Part A.
Three months before you turn 65, youâll be mailed your Medicare card, and youâre automatically enrolled in Part A. Youâll also be automatically enrolled in Part B unless you send the card back explaining that you donât want it.
Which brings us to our next question â is Medicare Part B mandatory at age 65?
Our team of licensed agents can help you determine which route would save you the most money, so if youâre not sure, be assured that we can help. Call us any time at 833-801-7999.
Working At A Large Company
The general rule for workers at companies with at least 20 employees is that you can delay signing up for Medicare until you lose your group insurance .
Many people with large group health insurance delay Part B but sign up for Part A because it’s free.
“It doesn’t hurt you to have it,” Roberts said.
However, she said, if you happen to have a health savings account paired with a high-deductible health plan through your employer, be aware that you cannot make contributions once you enroll in Medicare, even if only Part A.
Also, if you stay with your current coverage and delay all or parts of Medicare, make sure the plan is considered qualifying coverage for both Parts B and D.
If you’re uncertain whether you need to sign up, it’s worth checking with your human resources department or your insurance carrier.
“I find it is always good to just confirm,” said Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans.
Some 65-year-olds with younger spouses also might want to keep their group plan. Unlike your company’s option, spouses must qualify on their own for Medicare either by reaching age 65 or having a disability if younger than that regardless of your own eligibility.
Why Double Up On Health Insurance Coverage
If youre 65 and have coverage through a group plan with more than 20 employees, you dont need to enroll in Medicare. Many seniors are no longer employed at 65 and are eligible for Medicare.
If you have an employer with less than 20 employees, you need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Your employer plan may pay less or nothing for your care when it finds out that you havent enrolled.
If you are already covered by work health insurance, it is important to enroll in Medicare Part A on time. This way, Medicare can serve as your secondary plan and pick up the tab for anything your work health insurance does not cover.
If you are contributing to a health savings account and would like to continue doing so, you are exempt from Medicare enrollment. Medicare enrollees cannot contribute to a health savings account, regardless of whether or not they have coverage under their employers HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan.
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What Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover
Medigap policies cover the following out-of-pocket costs:4
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an extra 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up.
- Part B coinsurance or copays.
- Blood .
- Foreign travel emergency .
- Above out-of-pocket limits.
The Part B excess charge is little understood but essential to know. Doctors who accept Medicare assignment agree to rates set by Medicare for covered services. Those who dont can charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount.
Unless you have a Medigap plan that covers excess charges, you will be responsible for those charges. The alternative? To only use participating doctors, although thats not always easy in an emergency or surgery involving many doctors.
Also, Original Medicare does not cover you outside the U.S. But some Medigap policies do.
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Who Gets Automatically Enrolled In Medicare
A few different groups of people receive Medicare benefits automatically. When you are automatically enrolled in Medicare, you will receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail.
People who have been receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before they turn 65 will automatically get Part A and Part B. Coverage for these people starts on the first day of the month they turn 65 or the first day of the month before for people whose birthdays are on the first day of the month. If these people live in Puerto Rico, they will only be automatically enrolled in Part A and will need to apply for enrollment in Part B. These people all receive their Medicare card in the mail three months before they turn 65.
People who have a disability and have received disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months are automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. They will receive their Medicare cards in the mail three months before their 25th month of receiving disability benefits.
People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B the month they first receive their disability benefits. They will receive their Medicare card in the mail this same month.
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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.
Signing Up For Medicare
Follow the steps below if you need to actively enroll in Medicare.
If you decide to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Parts A and/or B by:
- Visiting your local Social Security office
- Mailing a signed and dated letter to Social Security that includes your name, Social Security number, and the date you would like to be enrolled in Medicare
- Or, by applying online at www.ssa.gov
If you are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits, enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board or contacting your local RRB field office.
Keep proof of when you tried to enroll in Medicare, to protect yourself from incurring a Part B premium penalty if your application is lost.
- Take down the names of any representatives you speak to, along with the time and date of the conversation.
- If you enroll through the mail, use certified mail and request a return receipt.
- If you enroll at your local Social Security office, ask for a written receipt.
- If you apply online, print out and save your confirmation page.
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How Do I Sign Up For Medicare At Age 65 If Im Still Working
Medicare Part A is premium-free for most people but you typically pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B.
So, you may want to delay enrollment in Part B if youre still working and have health insurance through your employer or other organization when you turn 65.
You should check with your plan benefits administrator before you turn 65 to see if your employer coverage changes when you become eligible for Medicare.
If you have the option to choose between Medicare and your employer plan, compare your monthly premiums and benefits before you turn 65 so you know which option makes the best financial sense for you.
Be aware that theres a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B if you dont sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period. You may avoid the penalty if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for example, if youre covered under an employment-based group health plan.
The Problem With Missing Your Enrollment Deadline
Most Medicare enrollees don’t pay a premium for Part A, which covers hospital visits. However, they do pay for Part B, which covers preventative care and diagnostic services. Currently, the standard Part B premium is $134 . If you don’t sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window, you’ll face a 10% increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you’re eligible for coverage but don’t enroll. Therefore, it generally pays to sign up for Medicare at 65 — unless you happen to qualify for one major exception.
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If The Employer Has 20 Or More Employees
As long as you have group health insurance from an employer for which you or your spouse actively works after you turn 65, you can delay enrolling in Medicare until the employment ends or the coverage stops , without incurring any late penalties if you enroll later. When the employer-tied coverage ends, youre entitled to a special enrollment period of up to eight months to sign up for Medicare.
Note that “active employment” is the key phrase here. You cant delay Medicare enrollment without penalty if your employer-sponsored coverage comes from retiree benefits or COBRA by definition, these do not count as active employment.
Nor does it count if you work beyond 65 but rely on retiree benefits from a former employer. You must be actively working for the employer that currently provides your health insurance in order to delay Medicare enrollment and qualify for a special enrollment period later on.
The law requires a large employer one with at least 20 employees to offer you the same benefits that it offers to younger employees . It is entirely your choice whether to:
- accept the employer health plan and delay Medicare enrollment
- have the employer coverage and Medicare at the same time
Can My Employer Force Me To Enroll In Medicare At Age 65
It used to be that turning 65 meant retirement and Medicare enrollment. Nowadays, with more people working past their 65th birthday, there are questions about how Medicare fits into this picture. Here is one.
I am turning 65 and my employer says I must enroll in Medicare. Is this legal?
The answer depends on the size of the company sponsoring the group health plan. If the company has 20 or more employees, it must offer the same coverage to those 65 years or older as it does to younger employees. It cannot force employees to enroll in Medicare or offer any incentives to do so. The employee can choose to keep the group health coverage or drop it and enroll in Medicare.
However, thing are different for a small company. Medicare secondary payer laws dictate that a group plan sponsored by a company with fewer than 20 employees becomes the secondary payer. Medicare would be primary, which means that enrollment in Part A, hospital insurance, and Part B, medical insurance, is necessary. Without Medicare, it would be as though the individual had no insurance.
Employees who work for a company with fewer than 20 employees have two options.
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Turning 65 What You Need To Know About Signing Up For Medicare
The first of the 78 million baby boomers turned 65 on January 1, 2011, and some 10,000 boomers a day will reportedly reach that milestone between now and 2030. If you are about to turn 65, then it is time to think about Medicare. You become eligible for Medicare at age 65, and delaying your enrollment can result in penalties, so it is important to act right away.
There are a number of different options to consider when signing up for Medicare. Medicare consists of four major programs: Part A covers hospital stays, Part B covers physician fees, Part C permits Medicare beneficiaries to receive their medical care from among a number of delivery options, and Part D covers prescription medications. In addition, Medigap policies offer additional coverage to individuals enrolled in Parts A and B.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Your City
Medicare enrollment begins three months before your 65th birthday and continues for 7 months. If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, you don’t need to do anything. You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B effective the month you turn 65. If you do not receive Social Security benefits, then you will need to sign up for Medicare by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or online at . It is best to do it as early as possible so your coverage begins as soon as you turn 65.
Have You Or Your Spouse Worked For At Least 10 Years At Jobs Where You Paid Medicare Taxes
Generally, youre first eligible to sign up for Part A and Part B starting 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Avoid the penalty If you dont sign up when youre first eligible, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
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