The United States labor force is continually evolving and shifting in terms of workforce demographics. While most people consider retirement around the age of 65, not everyone is hopping on that boat. In fact, there’s new data released from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It shows that 20% of people aged 65 and over are still working or looking for work. You might be wondering what this means for enrolling in Medicare and working past age 65.
Are You Eligible for Medicare When Working Past 65?
Many people understand that they become Medicare eligible when they turn 65. What you might not know is how Medicare works if you continue working past age 65 while keeping your group health insurance coverage. There are important dates to know about Medicare as you approach age 65 and what that means for your health coverage. Let’s explore how all this works.
Do You Have to Get Medicare With Employer Coverage?
The biggest thing to understand with regard to enrolling in Medicare when working past 65 is that you have options. You can opt to delay your Medicare enrollment if you wish to continue with your group health coverage. What this essentially means is that you have a different process for enrolling in Medicare when you choose to do so.
Additionally, you have the option to drop your group health coverage and begin the Medicare enrollment process as you normally would. Most people that opt to go this route do so because they find more advantages with Medicare coverage over their group health plan. Each scenario is different based on what is offered to you.
Lastly, you may have group health coverage through your spouse’s employer. Again, you can opt to stay with this coverage or begin the enrollment process into Medicare.
Enrolling in Medicare When Working Past 65
Regardless of when you choose to enroll in Medicare, there is a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This enrollment window is incredibly important because you can be penalized if you do not enroll properly within the IEP. Below is an outline of each part of Medicare and how you should enroll in each one, depending on your situation.
Medicare Part A
Typically, enrolling in Medicare Part A is automatic when you turn 65. It is automatic whether you keep your group health coverage or not.
Medicare Part A is your hospital coverage and it is used for things like inpatient care at a hospital, hospice care, home health care, etc. This part of Medicare is premium-free and will be a secondary form of payment for these services when you keep your group health coverage.
Medicare Part B
If you are planning to not enroll in Medicare and work past 65 while staying on your group coverage, you do NOT need to enroll in Medicare Part B. There is no penalty for delaying your enrollment into Medicare Part B. Should you choose to enroll in Medicare Part B, your one-time Medigap Enrollment Window will be triggered.
What does this mean? It means that this is your one opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without any medical underwriting. You are guaranteed coverage.
Next, you might be wondering how to ensure you do not get enrolled into Medicare Part B should you choose to delay your coverage. Your best course of action is to call your local Social Security office and follow their instructions. Each state/region is different in its approach.
Lastly, when you are ready to finally enroll in Medicare Part B after delaying it, you must fill out a form and submit it to the Social Security office. You will need to access the paper application Form CMS-40B. Your employer will also need to fill out Form CMS- L564. Remember, you have 8 months to enroll in Medicare Part B once your group health coverage ends.
Medicare Part D
When it comes to Medicare Part D, you can also delay this coverage. Medicare Part D is your drug coverage. As long as you have creditable drug coverage, there are no extra steps to take in order to delay Medicare Part D.
Keep in mind, enrolling in Medicare Part D is voluntary. However, this is not something you want to ignore, even if you are not taking medications. It is in your best interest to enroll when the time is right in order to avoid penalties for signing up late.
So, when is the right time to sign up for Medicare Part D? The window for enrolling in Medicare Part D is short. Unlike Medicare Part B, you only get 63 days to sign up for a Medicare Part D plan. Once your group health coverage ends, you must be prompt with choosing your prescription drug plan.
Medicare Supplements Plans When Working Past 65
Enrolling in a Medicare supplement plan when working past 65 is the last piece of the puzzle. A Medicare supplement plan can be delayed as well. However, many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that enrolling in Medicare along with a Medicare supplement plan might actually be better overall. Oftentimes, this combination provides better health insurance coverage at a cheaper rate than keeping your group health coverage.
Whether you are ready to retire or keep working past age 65, you have options when it comes to your Medicare coverage. Even if you have a group health plan, you can drop it for Medicare. It is important to be mindful of your enrollment windows so you do not end up paying lifetime penalties. If you are still unsure which option is best for you and your situation, you can chat with a Medicare Insurance Agent from MedicareInc.com. The advice is free and you can rest easy knowing you made the right choice for you.