Turning 65 and still working?
Should I apply for Medicare even though I have insurance at work?
Yes. If you’re not retiring and you are continuing to work then you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part A and delaying Part B until you retire and leave your employer sponsored health insurance plan. Even if you’re not receiving Social Security benefits at age 65, you’re still eligible for full Medicare benefits. This includes the Part A (hospitalization), as well as Part B (doctors’ visits and outpatient care) and Part D (prescription drugs); you pay a premium for each. But if you are not collecting social security benefits then it’s up to you to contact Social Security to sign up for Medicare only. You must do this within your “initial enrollment period.” This period starts three months BEFORE the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65 and continues three months AFTER that — a seven-month period.
Do you have an HSA?
If you enroll in Medicare Part A and/or B you can no longer contribute to your Health Savings Account (HSA). Whether you should delay enrollment in Medicare so you can continue contributing to your HSA depends on your circumstances. Carefully weigh the savings of enrolling in Medicare against the advantages of continuing to save money in a tax-free HSA.
You don’t have to enroll in all parts of Medicare.
Only the parts you need.
In a situation where you are still working at age 65 and have health insurance through your employer you don’t have to enroll in all parts of Medicare until you retire. If you have creditable insurance coverage through an employer plan, you can apply for Part A only. Part A might help pay for some of the costs not covered by your group plan such as your deductible if you go into the hospital for a surgery or if you need to stay in a skilled nursing facility. And as long as you have group coverage, you won’t be penalized for delaying Part B or Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage). When your employment or group coverage ends, you then have eight months in which to sign up for Part B and enroll in a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan. This is where I come in! There are a lot of different plans available and finding a plan that covers your doctors and your specific medications at the best price is what I do best. I’ve helped hundreds of people find the right plan and saved THOUSANDS in the process.
Your decision to enroll in Medicare Part B if you are still working is really a cost/value decision. The standard monthly premium for Part B is $121.80 in 2016. Where as Part A in most cases has no monthly premium. So your decision to enroll in Part B while you’re still working might depend on how much money you’re making and what your current costs are with your employer health insurance plan. You also need to consider what you’re getting. If you work for a company with 20 or more employees, your group health plan is still the primary payer of your medical bills, making your Medicare benefits of limited value. However, if your company has fewer than 20 employees, Medicare would be the primary payer and your company’s plan the secondary payer. In this case, it’s best to talk to your employee benefits administrator to see how Medicare would work with your insurance. The Part B coverage may well be worth the monthly premium.
What if I retire and then go back to work?
It’s not unheard of for insurance needs to change as people move in and out of the work force. So what happens if you retire, enroll in Part B and then find yourself back at work with employer coverage once again?
In this situation, you can drop Part B while working and re-enroll at any time while you have group coverage or during the eight months after your employer coverage ends, without risk of penalty or higher premiums.
For now, I suggest you mark the dates of your initial enrollment period on your calendar.
Then when the time comes, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B. You can also go to www.ssa.gov for more information.
No matter how long you choose to work, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the benefits you’ve earned. Keep in mind, this information is no substitute for an individualized consultation. You can Contact Me to schedule an appointment and we can sit down and talk about your individual needs and answer any of your questions. There is no cost or obligation to talk or meet with me. I would be glad to talk to you and answer questions about your options. You can reach me toll free at (866) 976-9038 or CLICK HERE if you would prefer e-mail. I am looking forward to answering your questions and helping you get the coverage that you need.