If you get “creditable” health insurance coverage from your employer and you are happy with that coverage, you should probably keep that it past age 65. Delaying will keep the monthly premium for Medicare Part B in your bank account a little longer. (The monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $134 in 2017.)
Your plan is probably creditable, but ring up your human resources department to make sure.
You may have heard that you will pay a late enrollment penalty if you delay enrolling in Medicare. Although this is general true, it isn’t in this situation. (See exceptions below).
You will not be hit with a late enrollment penalty for enrolling in Medicare Part A or Part B after age 65 if you coordinate the end of your group coverage with the start of your Medicare coverage.
You will see more information about this on Medicare.gov.
When you tell your employer you want to end your coverage, you should start making the move to Medicare. You will qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period” or “SEP” that will give you the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan without waiting for an open enrollment period.
You may benefit from enrolling in Medicare Part A at the usual time. Unlike Medicare Part B, Medicare Part A is “free” for most Medicare Enrollees; we pay for it with our payroll taxes.
You shouldn’t enroll in Part A until you need to if you want to contribute to a Health Savings Account. Wait until you will lose your employer-sponsored plan.
If you have worked in the United States for 10 years or more, you will not be charged for enrolling in Part A. It can serve as a backup for your employer sponsored coverage. It can be valuable coverage if for some reason your employer plan doesn’t cover you.
Here is a page on the AARP site that might shine more light on the subject.
- If you have COBRA, the rules are different. You should enroll in Medicare at age 65.
- If your group policy isn’t creditable or is simply a lousy plan, Medicare could be a better option.
- If you qualify for the Medicare Savings Program, you may qualify for a plan that is better than your group plan and get Part B without a monthly premium.
If you are single and your monthly income is below $2,472 you may qualify for this program. The limit for a married couple is $3,328. (Based on income limits in effect for 2017.)
(Let me know if you want to find out more about the Medicare Savings program.)
Delaying Medicare Enrollment Summary
So long as your employer provides you with creditable coverage, you can delay enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B without penalty. But since Medicare Part A is free for most people, I recommend that you enroll as soon as you are eligible.
Make sure that you coordinate the end of your group coverage with the start of your Medicare coverage or you may face penalties.
If you want my help enrolling in your Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan, contact me at least a month before your coverage will end. You can get quotes and a recommendation from my by calling me at (203) 374-3645 or you can request Medicare insurance quotes on this website.