Are you still working but have questions about signing up for Medicare?
If you are eligible for Medicare and still working, signing up for Medicare may be on your mind. But your individual circumstances determine how you should approach signing up for Medicare.
Should you sign up for Part A only or should you get Parts A and B? And what about Part D? Should you enroll even if you have prescription drug coverage at work?
These are all valid questions and there is not one answer that fits all circumstances. The type of group health insurance you have, the size of your employer and the type of prescription coverage you currently have all play a part in determining which is the best course of action.
The following Medicare sign-up tips will sort out some of the issues that you should consider and will allow you to make a more informed choice about your Medicare options.
What about Medicare Part A?
If you are eligible for Medicare and still working you should sign up for Medicare Part A. Even if you have insurance through your employer or union, Medicare Part A may cover some of your medical costs. As long as you have worked at least 40 quarters over your lifetime you will not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A.
About the only time you should not consider enrolling in Part A is if you are still working and insured through your employer or union and have not worked 40 quarters. In this case, if your insurance coverage is adequate you may want to postpone enrolling in Part A until you have either accrued 40 quarters of work or until you retire.
Should I sign up for Medicare Part B?
This question is best answered by examining your individual situation. If you have adequate coverage through your (or your spouses) group insurance, you may want to postpone enrolling in Part B. Part B requires that you pay a monthly premium. The monthly premium for 2012 is $99.90 for most people and more for those people with higher incomes.
Not only is Part B costly, but you may be duplicating coverage with little benefit. If you work for a company with more than 20 employees, the group policy is the primary payer.
If you work for an employer with less than 20 employees, Part B is the primary payer. If the later is the case you may want to speak with your Human Resources department or benefits department to get their input as to whether or not enrolling in Part B would be beneficial.
Another big concern about enrolling in Part B before you really have to is your Medigap open enrollment period. During your Medigap open enrollment period insurance companies cannot use medical underwriting as a reason not to sell you a policy. Your open enrollment period begins on the first day of the month you are both 65 or older and enroll in Part B. The enrollment period lasts for 6 months.
Enrolling in Part B too soon could:
- Cost you money needlessly
- Duplicate your current coverage
- Disadvantage you by wasting your Medigap open enrollment period.
Great Book for People About to Retire
Should I enroll in Medicare Part D?
If you have insurance through your employer or union, you more than likely have prescription drug coverage. The key to whether or not you should enroll in Part D when you are first eligible is whether or not your prescription drug insurance is deemed to be creditable coverage by Medicare.
Your employer can tell you if your coverage is deemed to be creditable. If it is creditable and you feel your coverage is adequate you may want to hold off on enrolling in Part D to save money on Part D premiums.
If, on the other hand, your coverage is not considered creditable, you should enroll in a Part D plan to gain better coverage and eliminate any possibility of paying a late enrollment penalty. If your coverage is creditable you will not be subject to a late enrollment penalty when you give up your employer or union coverage.
These Medicare sign-up tips reinforce the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether or not working seniors should sign up for Medicare. Certainly, if you are Medicare eligible and still working without group insurance coverage, you should enroll in Medicare, but if you’re still working, you should consider your situation carefully.
Dave, I did not enroll in Medicare when I turned 65 in November 2011 because I am covered by my employer’s medical plan. I plan on taking Social Security starting in December 2012 and retire in 2013. Will I be automatically enrolled in Medicare because I start taking SS, or must I do this during a SEP? Thanks.
Frank, You should have been automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when you first became eligible. Check with the Social Security Administration to verify your status. Taking Social Security (prior to 65) does not trigger Medicare enrollment otherwise there would be plenty of people who are 62 year old with Medicare benefits. You can also check the status with you Human Resources department. Most employers would like to see you enrolled in Medicare if you are receiving their benefits as they may be designated the secondary payer depending on their number of employees. If you find that you are enrolled in Part A, you can initiate enrollment in Part B when you leave your employment. You will be granted a Special Enrollment Period for up to eight months after you lose your employer benefits. You can also apply while you are still employed to eliminate the possibility of a lapse in any outpatient coverage.
I turn 65 in DEC 2015. I am told I have to signup for medicare or I will be responsible for some of my prescription fees. What part of Medicare do I sign up for A B C D. I am still working and have medical insurance through my employer.
Mary, You will normally be enrolled in Part A (hospital) automatically. Whether you need to enroll in Part B (outpatient) depends on the size of your employer and whether or not they or Medicare is the primary payer. Discuss this with your human resources department. If you are going to be covered by your employer for medical you would not sign up for Part C (Medicare Advantage). Check with your human resources department to determine if your drug coverage under their plan is “creditable coverage”. Part D (prescription coverage) would only be required if your current coverage is not creditable coverage. Drug coverage that is creditable is deemed by Medicare to be at least as good as Part D coverage.
I am 68 and have medicare a, b and d……I have taken a new job, and my new employer offers health insurance and I am eligible for myself and my husband who also has a,b,d.
——— am I mandated to take the employer insurance
———–if I do take it can I cancel my medigap and rx coverage until I stop working
———–do I need to notify medicare?
Judi, You are not mandated to accept your employer’s insurance. In fact, if you have Part A,B,D and a Medigap policy your coverage is probably better than what they are offering. If you can pick their dental and vision that may be beneficial.