Still Working at 65? You Can Enroll in Medicare
You may still be working, whether by choice or as a matter of necessity when you become eligible for Medicare at age 65. Depending on your situation, you may have different options available from a health insurance broker Santa Rosa when it comes to Medicare enrollment. You may be able to have both Medicare and your employer coverage at the same time, in which case one becomes the primary carrier and the other provides secondary coverage for expenses not eligible for the primary.
Before you make any decisions regarding Medicare enrollment, you need to find out what options are available to you. This depends on different factors, such as the size of your workplace and your history of employment.
A meaningful discussion about signing up for Medicare requires an understanding of the different parts, which cover different services. Medicare Part B covers things like outpatient care, medical supplies, and doctors' visits, including preventive services. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that primarily covers inpatient hospital stays. Medicare Part B charges a premium, while most people qualify for Medicare Part A for free.
If you work for a small company that has fewer than 20 employees, your employer has the option of requiring you to enroll in Medicare once you turn 65. You do not necessarily have to give up your employer coverage at this point. Rather, your employer coverage becomes secondary, covering whatever Medicare does not. If and when you retire or leave the position, you can purchase Medicare supplemental insurance, or Medigap coverage, to replace your employment coverage, but only if you purchase the former within 63 days of the end of the latter.
If you work for an employer with more than 20 employees, you have more options. Neither your employer nor anyone else can force you to enroll in Medicare. You have the option of enrolling in Medicare while keeping your employer coverage, but in this situation, it is your employer coverage, not Medicare, that is primary. If Medicare provides better coverage than your employer's policy, you may decline coverage from your job. On the other hand, if your employer offers a better health plan, you may delay your Medicare enrollment until up to eight months after your employment coverage ends.
Keep in mind that this pertains to Medicare Part A. You may want to hold off purchasing Medicare Part B until after your employment coverage ends, or you could forfeit your right to federal protections when purchasing Medigap coverage. If you do not purchase Medicare supplemental insurance within six months of signing up for Part B, companies can charge higher premiums for pre-existing conditions or deny you coverage altogether.
You have to be either a citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least five continuous years before you can qualify for Medicare. To be eligible to enroll in Part A with no premium, you must have paid Medicare taxes over at least 10 years of qualifying employment.
There are options for getting the most out of your Medicare coverage even while you are still working. For more information about enrolling in Medicare, contact us at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services by calling 707-823-3689.