Do I Need To Enroll In Medicare Part B If I Decide To Work Past Age 65?
This has become a popular question, especially as more people decide to work past age 65. While the answer to whether or not you need to enroll in Medicare Part B mainly depends on the size of the company you work for, it is always a wise move to compare the cost and coverage of your group health plan with that of Medicare. You may find that you can get more comprehensive coverage at a lower cost with Medicare instead of staying with your group coverage.
If you are age 65 or older, and you or your spouse are still working and are covered under a group health plan, you may not need to enroll in Medicare Part B (medical insurance) at age 65, as you may qualify for Medicare’s Special Enrollment Period. This enrollment period will allow you to sign up for Medicare Part B, without penalty, during the eight-month period that begins in the month after your group health plan coverage ends or you terminate your employment with the company, whichever comes first.
Stipulations Regarding Medicare Part B
The size of your company will dictate if you need to enroll in Medicare Part B when you turn 65. If your company has 20 or more employees, then your company group health insurance policy will be your primary medical insurance, allowing you to delay enrolling in Part B without worrying about a late enrollment penalty or lapse of coverage. When you leave your job, you will then have eight months to sign up for Part B, without a penalty, under Medicare’s Special Enrollment Period.
If your company has fewer than 20 employees, then Medicare will serve as your primary medical insurance, whether you are enrolled in Medicare. Therefore, your company health policy will be secondary to Medicare, which means that your employer plan will not cover any medical expenses that are assumed to be covered by Medicare. If you don’t sign up for Part B as soon as you’re eligible, then you may have to pay a penalty (which will result in a higher premium) and may experience a delay in coverage.
It is important to note that COBRA and retiree health plans are not considered coverage based on current employment. Therefore, if you have this type of coverage, you will not be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period when the coverage ends. To avoid paying the penalty, you will need to sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible.