If you plan on working past age 65 and you have a comprehensive benefits package from your employer, you’re probably wondering if, when and how you should enroll in Medicare. There are major differences between Medicare and employer health insurance and what’s best for you will largely depend upon your healthcare needs and what your employer-sponsored coverage currently provides. Should you switch plans? Should you maintain both coverage options?
Primary vs. Secondary Coverage
Only one insurance plan will be the primary payer. The primary insurer will pay up to the limits of the coverage. The secondary insurer may also pay, but only if there are leftover costs that are covered under the secondary plan.
Talk to your employer’s human resources department and see how your current coverage works with Medicare. In many cases, employees will keep their employer’s coverage as their primary insurer, then use Medicare as the secondary payer. However, keep in mind that the providers covered under your employer’s insurance plan may not accept Medicare.
What Will Lower Your Costs?
If you are satisfied with your employer’s coverage, you typically do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B right away. However, take an assessment of your healthcare needs and compare the costs of each plan. If you find that maintaining both coverage options or switching to Medicare will lower your out-of-pocket expenses, it may be worth it to sign up.
If you have employer-sponsored coverage, you can enroll in Medicare at any time without penalty for as long as you maintain that coverage. You can also enroll without penalty for up to eight months after you stop working or lose coverage.
What Happens When I Turn 65?
While the law requires most companies to continue healthcare coverage for employees aged 65 and over, you don’t always have a choice when it comes to Medicare and employer health insurance. For example, companies with fewer than 20 employees are not required to continue providing healthcare benefits once you turn 65. You may be required to sign up for Medicare Part B instead.
Also, some positions may automatically convert your current healthcare coverage into a Medicare Advantage plan. If you decide to enroll in a different plan or revert to Original Medicare, your company may terminate or reduce your benefits package.
Signing Up for Medicare Part A
If you’ve contributed enough, Medicare Part A is free. Even if you haven’t worked enough years to qualify, you may still be eligible for free Medicare Part A based on your spouse’s work record.
Since Part A is usually free and covers hospital care, it makes sense to sign up when you become eligible, even if you are planning on maintaining employer health insurance coverage. You can enroll at any time within the seventh month span surrounding your 65th birthday, starting three months before your birth month and concluding three months afterwards.
Balancing Medicare and employer health insurance isn’t easy and it’s highly subjective. Call My Senior Health Plan today and we will translate the details in a clear, easy-to-understand way, laying out all of your options and the costs involved. Let us help you make the best financial decision and the best move to ensure your healthcare is as comprehensive as possible.