Many people once assumed that they would retire at age 65, claim their Social Security benefits, and enroll in Medicare. But now that age 65 approaches, you either enjoy working or find that you must continue to work for financial reasons. If you’re not yet ready to retire, and you or your spouse is still covered by an employer’s health insurance plan, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment. Here’s what you need to know.
Medicare Part A is free to most people. Medicare Part A, or hospitalization insurance, is free to almost everyone (based on accumulated work credits). Since it won’t cost you a premium, in most cases it makes sense to enroll as soon as you’re eligible.
Whether or not you must enroll in Medicare Part B is determined by the size of your employer. Medicare Part B covers office visits, routine in-office procedures, and preventive care. You will be charged a monthly premium for Part B coverage, and if you don’t enroll when required to do so, your premiums will be higher for the rest of your life.
But are you required to enroll in Medicare Part B if you’re still working and covered by an employer’s healthcare plan? That depends on the size of the employer.
If your company employs more than 20 people, you can keep your current healthcare coverage and delay enrollment in Medicare Part B. However, some people choose to enroll in Part B anyway, if they like the coverage better or the premiums are lower.
Do investigate your company plan’s prescription drug coverage. If it’s not “creditable” (considered equal to or better than Medicare Part D coverage) you can enroll in a Part D plan so that you achieve more comprehensive coverage for your prescriptions.
And if you’re covered by an employer’s healthcare plan, your Medicare enrollment window will open when you quit or retire. Remember to enroll in Medicare at this time.
If your employer has fewer than 20 workers, you should sign up for Medicare. Your employer’s plan can supply secondary insurance if you opt to keep it.
Do be aware that once you enroll in any Medicare plan, you are no longer eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). That’s important to know if you were utilizing your HSA to save for healthcare expenses in retirement.
Call us if you’re approaching age 65 and still working. We can help you compute your potential costs and make a decisions regarding Medicare enrollment.