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Registering for Medicare is a crucial and important time in your life. It is important that you enroll at the correct time to ensure that you receive the most value for your health care. If you’re considering enrolling in Medicare before you retire, make sure you explore all of your options to ensure that this is the best decision for your health care. Find out whether you should enroll in Medicare before you retire, or if you have other options if you continue working past the age of 65.
When Are You Eligible for Medicare?
Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. However, people younger than 65 with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) are also eligible for Medicare.
For most, Medicare Part A will not cost anything in retirement. This would be the case if you worked at least 40 quarters (10 years) in the United States and paid Medicare taxes while employed. You may also be eligible for coverage if you didn’t work or pay Medicare taxes but your spouse did.
If you want Part B, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium which will depend on your Part B start date and your income level. Part D (your prescription drug coverage) and Medicare supplement policies (secondary coverage for your Medicare gaps) will also require a monthly premium.
Should You Get Medicare If You Keep Working?
Though most retire at age 65 when they begin collecting Social Security, others will continue working well after the 65th birthday milestone. As soon as you become eligible for Medicare Part A (usually when you turn 65), you should enroll right away – especially if you are eligible for the premium-free Medicare Part A. Since you won’t pay anything, you simply gain more coverage at no cost.
You’ll likely want to enroll in Medicare Part B at some point, too. However, the timing of your Part B enrollment will depend heavily on whether you continue working past age 65 or not. If you decide to continue working, you may prefer to keep your existing coverage.
This will also depend on the size of your company. If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, Medicare becomes the primary payer for your coverage. The employer-sponsored coverage pays secondary in this case. In this case, you’ll need to evaluate your employer secondary coverage and compare it to Medicare Part B. Then, choose which plan offers more comprehensive coverage and move forward accordingly.
If you work for a company with more than 20 employees, your employer plan will offer the same benefits as it did before you were eligible for Medicare. In this case, you can delay your Part B enrollment until you retire.
In this case, you’d be granted a special enrollment period for Part B and would avoid the Part B late enrollment penalties.
How Does Medicare Work With Other Types of Insurance?
If you have Medicare and employer-sponsored insurance, each type of coverage is considered a “payer.” The primary payer will pay what it owes on your bills first. Then, the secondary payer pays up to its coverage limits on the remainder of the bill.
This does not necessarily mean that the secondary payer will cover all of the remaining costs. It is important that you understand your Medicare coverage as well as your employer-sponsored coverage to understand the coverage limits, as well as your own financial responsibilities to your medical expenses.
GoMedigap Can Help You Understand
If you’re confused about whether you need to take Medicare Part B or wait, we can help you. Our agents are professionally trained in all things Medicare-related and will be able to direct you to the correct resources. For a free consultation, please call us directly at (800) 310-2550.