April 8, 2014

Can I put off enrolling in Medicare if I’m still working when I turn 65?

By Paula of Allsup

If you’re still on the job at 65, with health coverage through your employer, you may think you don’t need to worry about Medicare until you retire.

But working or not—you become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. You need to make timely decisions about your Medicare benefits…or else!

For example, did you know?

  • The size of your employer can affect whether you have to sign up for Medicare at age 65.
  • You may be able to coordinate your employer group health plan with your Medicare benefits.
  • If you don’t follow Medicare’s enrollment rules, you may have to pay a penalty every month of every year that you have Medicare for the rest of your life!

Your Employer Health Insurance

First, find out how your employer group health plan works with Medicare.

According to Medicare’s rules, if you work for a small company with fewer than 20 employees, Medicare becomes your primary insurance at 65. This means that Medicare pays first on your claims, with your group plan covering only those expenses Medicare does not pay. In this case, you most likely have to enroll in Medicare even though you’re still working.

If you work for a larger company with 20 or more employees, however, Medicare’s rules are different. Your group health plan continues to be your primary insurer after you turn 65. This means that you may have the option of deferring your Medicare enrollment until you retire.

But don’t make any assumptions. Speak with the administrator of your health plan to confirm how your plan works with Medicare.

Deciding To Defer Medicare Enrollment

If you can defer your Medicare enrollment, should you? The answer to this question depends on a number of variables.

For example, it’s possible to sign up for Medicare Part A, but defer Medicare Part B. This step would help you to avoid premiums. But you also need to look at your group health coverage, especially if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have an HSA, talk to your financial advisor before signing up for either Part A or Part B. The IRS will not allow you to contribute to an HSA if you are receiving benefits from Medicare.

The decisions you make about Medicare when you turn 65 can have consequences that may stay with you for as long as you have Medicare.

You can find answers to questions on these and other issues by contacting an Allsup Medicare specialist. Click here for a free online form or call Allsup Medicare Advisor® at (866) 521-7655.

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