If you’re 65 or over and working, and are covered under a group health plan either from your own or your spouse’s current employer, you are not required to sign up for Medicare, as long as your employer has more than 20 employees. When that health coverage ends, you would then have a “special enrollment period” in which to sign up for Medicare Part B. So, you may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and paying the penalty for late enrollment. There are some things to double check, however.
When would I enroll in Medicare, then?
You can enroll in Medicare Part B any time while you have a group health plan based on current employment. You can also enroll during the eight-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the group health coverage ends, whichever happens first. Make sure you do enroll during that period, though, as you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty after that 8 month period has passed.
Your effective coverage will begin the 1st of the month after you enroll.
Please note that COBRA and retiree health coverage do not count as current employer coverage.
What should I do now?
It is important to speak to your employer plan benefits administrator to determine if they offer any benefits that work in conjunction with Medicare. You should also check that their health plan is indeed “creditable” otherwise you may be subject to penalties after. With this information you can decide on what makes the most sense for you. If you have a spouse or others on your health insurance plan, there may be other considerations, including financial ones.
Note on Health Savings Accounts(HSA): To avoid a tax penalty, you should not contribute to your HSA starting 6 months before you apply for Medicare. Before then, you may consider topping off your HSA with pre-tax funds that you can then draw from once you are on Medicare.
Have any questions?
Just get in touch with one of our Heroes that would be happy to help you! We are unbiased independent brokers contracted with all of the major health insurance companies. We are 100% free to you and the prices are the same as if you went directly to the health insurance companies, but with us as your Medicare concierge we can continue to guide you in your journey.