Do I have to sign up for Medicare if I’m still working?
Probably not but it depends. If you are still working after you turn 65 (or your spouse is still working) for a company with 20 full-time workers AND you get creditable health insurance from them, you may not need to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65. You can delay Part B or Part D and get them later on when you retire or if you lose your job-related insurance.
Most people should enroll in Medicare Part A when they turn 65, even if they have Employer Group Coverage (EGC) because it is free for most people. It’s free because you’ve paid in through payroll deductions while you work. If you have insurance through a job, Medicare Part A may not pay much toward your healthcare costs because Part A generally pays after your job’s insurance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent of 65-to-69-year-olds will be part of the labor force by 2024. We are seeing this percentage growing now that people turning 65 must wait until they are 66 years old to collect full retirement benefits from Social Security.
How do I Know if My Coverage is Creditable?
Ask your HR Department if your Employer Group Coverage (EGC) is “creditable” and whether it is primary or secondary to Medicare. If it’s not creditable or if it’s secondary to Medicare, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare.
Even if you aren’t required to sign up for Medicare you still might want to sign up for Medicare. Why? You could benefit from the cost and coverage offered by Medicare versus your Employer Group Coverage plan. We can help you compare your options.
Do I Select Medicare or Employer Group Coverage?
People with creditable Employer Group Coverage (EGC) also have another option. You can leave your EGC plan and choose Original Medicare as your primary insurance, and then add a Medicare Supplement plan. Medicare with a Supplement plan can cost less for you or your spouse. For many people, it will reduce or eliminate your deductible spending and usually all doctor copays.
To determine if Original Medicare with a Supplement is cost-effective for you depends on how much your employer coverage costs each month in your payroll deductions. Your plan deductible, copays, and prescription usage also factor into the equation. If you are married and one spouse is younger, you must also consider the cost of health insurance for the spouse of the Medicare beneficiary.
We can help you decide if you should enroll in Part B now or later. We often meet people that we advise staying with their group plan for now if that makes more sense.
What Happens if You Retire and then Later Go Back to Work?
If you get Part B, and then later get a new job with employer insurance, you can cancel Part B at that time. Later when you retire again, you'll have a second 6-month open enrollment window to get a Medigap plan with no medical questions asked.