Senior Healthcare Advisors Blog
The Fact Is - This is a common question asked by seniors about to turn 65, especially if they are still working. Not knowing the answer to this question as it specifically relates to your situation could cost you some money.
Please be aware that there isn't one correct answer to the question above. In order to get a better idea of what you should do, ask yourself the following questions:
The answers to these questions will help you determine if your required to sign up for Medicare at age 65.
If You Answered "YES" to Question 1
Then you will most likely need to sign up for Medicare at age 65. Retirees that don’t sign up for Medicare when they first become eligible can suffer from late penalties.
If you are a retiree who has a retiree health plan provided by a former employer, then you need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare is primary to retiree health plans so if you don’t enroll, you’ll be penalized for not signing up.
People with retiree health plans should sign up for Medicare when they are first eligible. Usually, retiree health plans and Medicare work well together and provide substantial coverage.
On the other hand, you may be a retiree whose former employer doesn’t offer retiree coverage, so you have an individual health insurance policy through the ACA marketplace exchange also known as "Obama Care."
You’ll still want to sign up for Medicare at age 65 to avoid late penalties, delayed coverage, and loss of social security benefits. You can visit Senior Healthcare Advisors (SHA) to learn more information on why it's probably beneficial to leave your ACA plan and transition to Medicare.
If you answered “No” to question 1 because you are still working, move on to question 2.
If You Answered "YES" to Question 2
If you are still working and your employer provides group health coverage, then move to Question 3, which is “How many employees does your company have?” Your answer will determine whether or not you will need to sign up for Medicare at age 65.
If your Company has “Less than 20 Employees” . . . .
You will need to sign up for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible.
If you fail to enroll in Medicare when you become eligible while working for a company that has less than 20 employees, you will be subject late enrollment penalties. Medicare is the primary insurer when you work for a small company, so you need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.
If your Company has “20 or more Employees” . . . .
You fall into the category of having "Large Employer Coverage" and you have some options!
Options for Employees with "Large Employer Coverage"
The first and most popular 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 creditable coverage, 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 Question 4 will generally help you determine whether you want to enroll in Medicare and let it coordinate with your employer coverage or delay Medicare until later to save yourself from paying unnecessary Part B and D premiums while you are still working.
How Rich is your Employer Group Health Coverage?
Is your group health coverage extraordinary or the best insurance you’ve ever had?
If it is, you can rest easy knowing that you are covered well and don’t need Medicare yet.
Is your insurance anything less than stellar? Then you might want to think about having Medicare in addition to your group health plan.
As mentioned above, when you work for an employer with 20 or more employees, your group health plan is your primary coverage. Medicare would be secondary. If you were to have both Medicare and group coverage, your Medicare would supplement your group plan and may reduce some health spending. However, that might only be important to you if you have some health care spending going on and you just want more robust overall coverage.
Medicare Part A
No matter what your answer was to question #4, it's recommended that you sign up for at least Medicare Part A unless you are contributing into a health savings account and want to continue doing so.
For most people Part A costs $0/month, just as long as they have worked at least 40 quarters in the United States. So, it doesn’t cost you anything to add Part A at age 65. If you have an inpatient hospital stay, Part A coverage may help to reduce your spending under your group health plan.
A Quick Note About Late Penalties
If you incur a late penalty, it will be tacked onto your Medicare monthly premium when you finally do enroll. The penalties stay in force for as long as you continue to be enrolled in Medicare.
With that said, if you were to never enroll in Medicare, you wouldn’t end up paying those penalties. However, lasting your entire life without ever needing to sign up for Medicare is unlikely.
Review - Questions and Answers
Q - "I'm Turning 65 - Do I Have to Sign Up for Medicare?"
A - Not everyone has to sign up for Medicare at age 65. It depends on your situation.
Q - Can you be penalized for not signing up for Medicare at 65?
A - Yes, you certainly can if you don’t have creditable employer coverage.
Q - Does having creditable coverage mean you can delay signing up for Medicare?
A - Yes.
Q - Should you at least sign up for Medicare Part A?
A - Yes, unless you plan on contributing to a health savings account.
Need Help With The Details?
Rest assured that Senior Healthcare Advisors is an established Medicare Advocacy Group that's always available to help you with your Medicare questions and options. SHA assists thousands of seniors every year to make Medicare choices that are right for them.
After speaking with us and getting a clear plan of action, you'll have the knowledge to choose a plan and confidently put your Medicare decisions behind you. Whether it's a "low cost" Medicare Advantage Plan, a Medicare Supplement Plan that provides 100% coverage or even your Part D Prescription Drug Plan, SHA is here to help.
Remember, there is never any pressure to choose a plan and there is never a charge for our services or advice.
When it comes to your Medicare decisions be sure to
have an Advocate by your side!
Senior Healthcare Advisors is a leading resource throughout the country for Medicare knowledge and guidance. Our mission is to educate seniors about their options
and empower them to make the Medicare choices that are right for them.
Our licensed Medicare Advocates will work with you Free of Cost to put your Medicare Plan together for the lowest possible cost in your area .... Guaranteed!
Additionally, we'll review your plan annually to ensure your getting the best
possible coverage for the best price, year after year.
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