Do I Enroll in Medicare if I Already Have Health Insurance?
You probably know that at age 65, you become eligible to enroll in Medicare. But what you might not know is that you’re actually required to do so. If you don’t sign up for Medicare within your initial enrollment window, you will face a penalty in the form of higher premiums for life when you finally do enroll.
But what if you already have health insurance through an employer-provided plan, because either you or your spouse is still working? In some cases you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment without triggering the penalty.
First, it helps to understand that Medicare comes in two parts. Part A is hospitalization insurance, and most people can enroll for free (no premiums) assuming they have accumulated enough work history. In nearly every circumstance, it makes sense to go ahead and enroll in Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part B, which covers routine office visits and preventive care, will cost you a monthly premium. If you’re still working and covered by an employer’s group healthcare plan, you might not be required to enroll in Medicare Part B yet. It comes down to the size of your employer.
If your company employs more than 20 workers, you can just stay on their healthcare plan and delay your Medicare Part B enrollment. Once you quit working, or are otherwise no longer covered by that healthcare plan, you will enter an 8-month enrollment window during which you must sign up for Medicare Part B.
However, some people do choose to go ahead and enroll in Medicare Part B anyway, because they prefer it to their employer’s plan.
If your employer’s healthcare plan does not offer “creditable” prescription drug coverage (as good as, or better than Medicare) then you might opt to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan as well. This plan will help you manage the cost of prescription drugs.
If your company employs fewer than 20 workers, you must sign up for Medicare Part B. It will act as your primary insurance, and your employer’s plan can serve as secondary insurance.
Numerous special rules apply to either of these decisions, so it’s not a matter to take lightly. As your 65th birthday and Medicare eligibility approaches, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you decide how to proceed with your enrollment, so that you comply with the rules and avoid any undue expenses.