Still employed? And wish to know what are the key things about Medicare at this stage? Here’s a brief answer to all your queries –

You can get Medicare if you’re still working and enjoy the basic privileges provided through Medicare policies. Medicare offers a 7-month window to apply around your date of eligibility. You can apply through either of the three options –

  • 3 months before the month of 65th birthday,
  • during your 65th birthday month,
  • or within 3 months from your 65th birthday

Many a times you might need to enroll on time to avoid paying a late penalty in Medicare premiums.

It’s best to apply for Medicare Part-A (Hospital coverage), if and when you become eligible, even when you are covered by a group health plan. Part-B (Outpatient care) and Part-D (Prescription drug plans) often require additional premiums and may cause you to lose some or all of your employer coverage. You can anytime opt to talk to your insurance provider and a Medicare agent about how enrolling in Part-B and Part-D will impact future enrolment in Medicare.

What if I am already covered by my or my spouse’s group healthcare plan?

That certainly depends. If you work in a large company with more than 20 employees, then policy can act as a secondary payer to fill in the gaps in your existing coverage without any additional cost on your end. On the other hand, if you are in a small company (fewer than 20 employees) or have a health insurance plan through your employer with minimal coverage, then enrolling in Medicare might help to reduce your medical expenses.

TAKEAWAYS:

  • You are not required to immediately enroll in Medicare if you’re eligible but still insured under an employer-sponsored plan.
  • Usually, you can continue to receive benefits from your employer and enroll in Medicare when you are ready to replace that coverage.
  • You’ll want to compare your current premiums and healthcare costs with Medicare premiums based on your income.
  • You may want to join at least premium-free Medicare part-A, if you’re eligible when you turn 65. The secondary coverage can help eliminate gaps in your group health plan and may help to save your money.
  • If you work for a small company with fewer than 20 employees or have a health plan with your employer that provides minimal coverage, it may make sense to switch to full Medicare coverage — including Part B and prescription drug benefits.

POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT:

  • Your current employment status is not a factor in whether you are eligible or not. It depends on your age and you are eligible for Medicare at 65.
  • If you initially decline Medicare coverage, you may have to pay a penalty when you decide to enroll at a later age.