The landscape for retirement has changed a lot over the past few decades. Most of our parents or grandparents worked until they were 65, retired, and then signed up for Medicare. Nowadays, people are working well into their 60s and 70s, or on the opposite end, have worked hard to retire earlier in their 50s. Throughout many twists and turns in our culture and financial laws, one thing has stayed the same: you have to enroll in Medicare when you are 65 or there will be penalties. So how does that affect you if you’re still working?
There is one exception to this rule:
If you are still working, or your spouse is still working, and you are covered by an employer group plan that covers 20 or more employees, you do not need to enroll in Medicare at 65. You may continue to be covered by your employer group plan as long as you or your spouse is still working. But once that employer coverage ends, you must enroll in Medicare or face possible penalties.
This means that if you are retired and covered by a retiree plan or COBRA when you turn 65, you must enroll in Medicare. If you are retired or self-employed and covered by an individual health insurance policy when you turn 65, you must enroll in Medicare. If you are still working and covered by an employer plan that covers fewer than 20 employees when you turn 65, you must enroll in Medicare. The only exception to the requirement to enroll in Medicare at 65 is if you are covered by an employer group plan that covers 20 or more employees.
There are two things that could happen if you do not enroll in Medicare at the correct time:
Option 1: You may be charged a late-enrollment penalty when you eventually do sign up. This penalty will be added to your regular Part B premium and continues for the rest of your life. The penalty is 10% of the Part B premium for every 12 months you should have had Part B but didn’t.
Option 2: You may not have health insurance. If you are not covered by such a plan and you incur a medical expense, the bill will be sent to Medicare. If you are not enrolled in Medicare, Medicare won’t pay the bill. And any other insurance you might have, such as an individual health insurance policy or a small group health plan, won’t pay the bill either because it is Medicare’s responsibility.
We are here to help with any and all Medicare enrollment questions! Please let us know if you or a loved one needs assistance with applying in a specific scenario! Our office number is 616-717-8467 or you can email us at Greetings@MyInsuranceLady.com. We would be happy to offer any assistance.
You can also download the full PDF below for additional information on eligibility and enrollment for Medicare.
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