In today’s world, many individuals are choosing to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Whether it’s for financial reasons, personal fulfillment, or a combination of both, working beyond 65 is becoming increasingly common. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder what to do about Medicare. In this blog, we’ll explore your options and provide guidance on how to navigate Medicare while continuing to work past age 65.
1. Understand Your Initial Enrollment Period:
The first step in addressing Medicare when working past 65 is to understand your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This seven-month period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and extends three months after that. During this time, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B without incurring any late enrollment penalties.
2. Consider Your Employer’s Coverage:
If you’re still working at age 65 and have employer-sponsored health insurance, carefully review your employer’s coverage options. In many cases, you may choose to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B if your employer coverage is considered creditable. Creditable coverage means it is at least as good as Medicare.
3. Evaluate the Size of Your Employer:
The size of your employer can impact your Medicare decisions. If your employer has 20 or more employees, your employer-sponsored coverage usually becomes your primary insurance, and Medicare becomes secondary. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, Medicare generally becomes your primary coverage, and your employer’s plan becomes secondary.
4. Assess Your Healthcare Needs:
Consider your current health status and healthcare needs. If you have pre-existing health conditions or anticipate needing frequent medical care, it might make sense to enroll in Medicare Part B, even if you have employer coverage. Medicare can provide additional benefits and cost-sharing protections.
5. Know the Special Enrollment Period (SEP):
Once you stop working or your employer-sponsored coverage ends, you have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) during which you can enroll in Medicare Part B without penalties. It’s crucial to apply for Part B within this window to avoid late enrollment penalties and gaps in coverage.
6. Weigh the Benefits of Supplemental Insurance:
Medigap policies can provide extra coverage to help pay for out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover. You can enroll in a Medigap plan during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period, but it’s essential to consider how this coverage fits into your overall healthcare strategy.
7. Explore Medicare Advantage (Part C):
Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) combine Parts A and B into a single plan and often include prescription drug coverage. If you prefer an all-in-one approach to healthcare coverage, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a suitable option.
8. Seek Professional Guidance:
Navigating Medicare while continuing to work past age 65 can be complex, and the right decisions depend on your specific circumstances. Consider consulting with a Medicare counselor, insurance agent, or financial advisor who specializes in Medicare. They can help you make informed choices tailored to your unique needs.
Working past age 65 is a personal choice that can impact your Medicare decisions. It’s essential to understand your options, evaluate your employer’s coverage, and consider your healthcare needs. Whether you choose to enroll in Medicare while working or delay enrollment until you retire, careful planning ensures you have the healthcare coverage you need as you continue to enjoy a fulfilling and active lifestyle beyond the traditional retirement age.