- September 2, 2020
Medicare eligibility begins at 65 but as more individuals are choosing to work well past the eligibility age, enrollment while working can be a bit confusing. Many people often struggle with the question, “Do you have to sign up for Medicare at 65 if still working?” The short answer is, it depends.
There are various instances in which enrolling in Medicare while working can be beneficial. On the other hand, your employer coverage may be better than what is offered through Medicare. While there is no law forcing you into Medicare coverage while working, there may be penalties or coverage gaps if you choose to delay enrollment. Keep reading to find out, “Do you have to sign up for Medicare at 65 if still working?”
Do you Have to Sign up for Medicare at 65 if Still Working and Insured through your Employer?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors: The number of employees your company has and whether or not your current coverage meets your healthcare needs. Generally speaking, if your company has:
- Fewer than 20 employees you will most likely need to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Some smaller employers may no longer provide healthcare coverage if they find out you are eligible for Medicare benefits and haven’t yet enrolled. Check your current employer’s policy regarding Medicare before your IEP.
- 20 or more employees you can choose to delay Medicare enrollment and keep your current coverage, drop your healthcare coverage for Medicare, or enroll in Medicare and keep your current coverage.
If your current coverage isn’t heavily subsidized by your employer, it may be beneficial for you to enroll in a Medicare plan. It’s wise to weigh the cost and benefits of your current plan against a Medicare plan to determine which coverage is best for you.
How Medicare works with your Employer’s Insurance
When there are two insurance providers it can get a little tricky when it comes to which provider pays first. Depending on the type of insurance you have (group plan, retiree coverage, COBRA, etc) Medicare can be either the primary or secondary payer. If Medicare ends up being the primary payer you should enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period. If Medicare becomes the secondary payer you can delay enrolling in a Medicare Part B plan. Regardless of who becomes a primary or secondary payer, it is wise to enroll in Medicare Part A coverage since it is generally free for most, and there is often very little downside to enrolling.
Enrolling in Medicare While Still Working
If you decided to enroll in Medicare while you continue to work, you will need to do so during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid late enrollment penalties. The Initial Enrollment Period is a Seven-month window that begins three months prior to your 65th Birthday, the month of your birthday, and ends three months after your birth month. Some individuals decide to enroll in Medicare because it makes financial sense, their company has fewer than 20 employees, or they wish to remain a dependant on their spouse’s coverage and the employer requires enrollment.
Delaying Medicare While Still Working
If you decide to delay enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B you will not be penalized as long as you enroll within eight months of losing your healthcare coverage. At that time, you will be able to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period. It is important to note if you decide to delay Medicare coverage you will need to make sure your current prescription drug coverage is comparable to Medicare Part D coverage or you risk long term Part D penalties during enrollment. Another important consideration before delaying Medicare enrollment is whether or not you contribute to a Health Savings Account. If you do contribute, you will no longer be allowed to do so once enrolled in a Medicare plan.
Situations in which Medicare Enrollment is Beneficial alongside Employer Coverage
There are some situations in which you should enroll in Medicare benefits to avoid penalties and high premiums. Examples of these situations include:
- Group coverage through a spouse’s employer that has fewer than 20 employees.
- You are enrolled in retiree coverage
- You are enrolled in COBRA.
- You receive veterans’ benefits.
These are just a few examples of how enrolling in Medicare can be beneficial to you. If you are concerned with whether or not you should enroll in Medicare benefits while working it would be wise to reach out to an experienced independent insurance agent to help guide you with your decision.
Help with Choosing Medicare while Working
It’s understandable the question, “Do you have to sign up for Medicare at 65 if still working?” can be confusing and stressful. The good thing is, there is help! Working with an experienced insurance agent who is well versed in Medicare insurance can help ease the stress of deciding whether to enroll or not. With over 40 years of insurance experience, Griset Medicare Solutions has helped countless individuals enroll in Medicare coverage that is right for them. Schedule a free no-obligation consultation now by calling (714) 834-1322.