I continue to see a growing number of clients meeting with me that have no idea how to start the process of Medicare, or what the pitfalls or benefits are while they’re still working, but are age 65 or older. Common Q & A’s are:
If I’m 65 when I retire can I enroll in my retiree benefits or COBRA first and then go on to Medicare later?
No! These benefits don’t count. You need to sign up for Medicare at age 65 in both of these situations.
If I have insurance from an employer (mine or my spouse) can I delay enrolling in Medicare at age 65?
Yes! But only is the employer has 20 or more employees. Once your employer insurance ends you have 8 months to enroll in Medicare without late enrollment penalties. I would suggest you compare the options open to you in Orange County’s Medicare market for deciding to stay on group insurance. Many times group benefits are more expensive and not as good as what’s available to you as a Medicare beneficiary.
I have small group insurance, how does that work with Medicare?
The best option is to enroll in Medicare at age 65. Then, compare the Medicare options available to you in Orange County to round out your coverage vs. staying on your employer’s plan as the secondary insurance. Most times you’ll find your options are less expensive and richer in benefits that what you small group health plan offers.
I didn’t realize I had a deadline to sign up from Medicare at age 65 and I missed my enrollment window, now what?
Sorry, but you have to wait until the general enrollment period which runs January 1st to March 31st every year. Go to your local social security office to sign up during that timeframe. Unfortunately your coverage won’t start until July 1st and you’ll have late enrollment penalties for you Part B portion of Medicare and your RX coverage(Part D) (some exceptions for the RX late enrollment penalty exist)
If I have employer insurance should I enroll in Medicare at age 65?
I would say that it’s a waste of your money to do so if your employer plan is 20 or more workers. Reason being is that the employer plan in this situation is automatically your primary plan. Medicare Part B comes with a price-tag ($104.90 for the standard premium, it can be higher). So if your employer plan is decent, you would be paying for something that would never be utilized in most cases.