So you’re about to turn 65. Do you have to sign up for Medicare? Not necessarily. It is true that if you don’t sign up for Medicare during the initial enrollment period that occurs when you turn 65, you may face penalties when you sign up later on, such as higher premiums. However, there are exceptions to this rule. This means that people who want to keep their employer coverage past the age of 65 may be able to do so. And with 1/3 of Americans between the ages of 65-69 staying in the workforce, this is becoming more and more common. If this is you, you may or may not have to sign up for one or more parts of Medicare. Learn more about how these exceptions work in our blog.
How to Navigate Keeping Employer Health Coverage When You Turn 65
If you have large (20+) employer group health insurance:
If you have group health insurance through your employer, and your employer employs 20 or more people, then you do not need to sign up for Medicare upon turning 65. You can wait until your employer coverage ends, at which point you can sign up for Medicare without consequence.
There are of course a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, your employer’s health insurance must offer drug coverage that is at least as good as a Medicare Part D plan. It is very likely that your employer’s plan meets this standard, but it’s smart to verify before you proceed.
If you have small (<20) employer group insurance:
If you have insurance through your employer and your employer employs 20 people or fewer, you need to sign up for Medicare. But, you can still keep your employer coverage if you want. In this situation, Medicare becomes the primary payer of covered insurance claims, and your employer group plan becomes the secondary payer.
Part A as a secondary payer:
Lets say you have large group insurance and you don’t have to sign up for Medicare upon turning 65. Should you still sign up for Part A anyway? Many people do this because Part A serves as a secondary payer in this situation, meaning you get a little extra help with hospital stays.
If you have not qualified for premium-free Part A, meaning you haven’t worked enough (40) quarters in a job that pays Social Security payroll taxes, you should sign up for Part A when you first become eligible. This is because you will have to pay a penalty when you sign up later.
Another situation in which you should take Medicare is if you have a high-deductible health plan that has a health savings account funded with pre-tax dollars. This plan cannot coincide with Medicare, so you can’t have both at the same time.
Get more help navigating the Medicare landscape.
There’s a lot more to know about the balance between employer health coverage and Medicare. Global Premier Benefits can help you navigate the Medicare landscape to make the decision that’s right for you!
About Global Premier Benefits
Global Premier Benefits offers education for seniors on healthcare options available to them that could improve their quality of life and defray their healthcare costs as well. Our goal is to enable seniors to live healthy, rewarding lives without compromising their finances. Call us at 1-866-229-8447 to speak with a certified specialist to see if you qualify for extra help! You can also keep up with Global Premier Benefits on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest.
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