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Working and Going on Medicare

If you remain in the workforce when you turn 65, you will have some things to consider when deciding to enroll or delay enrolling in Medicare. Below are some common questions and guidance that will help you make the best decision for your healthcare needs.

Should I enroll in Medicare if I have employer-sponsored healthcare?

It depends, so let's break this down into a few parts. 

Whether or not you should enroll often depends on the size of your (or your spouse's) employer.

If your employer has 20 or more employees, you may choose to delay enrolling, drop your employer coverage for Medicare, or have both employer and Medicare coverage. 

If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, in most cases you should enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you choose to delay in this situation, you can face penalties to your premiums that last the lifetime of your coverage. 

Enrolling in Part A: 

So long as you or your spouse have worked for ten years, you may enroll in premium-free Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period while continuing employer coverage. Be aware that if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you may no longer contribute to it once you enroll in Medicare. 

Delaying Part A & B:

If you qualify to delay enrollment, you may choose to do so without facing penalties. Please keep in mind that you will need to enroll within eight months once you are no longer employed OR no longer have employer-sponsored health care, whichever comes first. Additionally, you'll need proof of creditable drug coverage to avoid paying Part D penalties.

Creditable Drug Coverage:

For individuals who delay Medicare coverage, you must have creditable drug coverage to avoid future penalties. This is drug coverage that is at least as good as the standard Part D drug plan. If your employer coverage isn't creditable and you think you would like to enroll in a Part D drug plan in the future, you must enroll in Part D coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period. Otherwise, you will face penalties for late enrollment that will last the lifetime of your coverage.

Notifying Medicare if Delaying:

If you're receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you must notify Social Security that you're delaying Part B. This is because if you're receiving either benefit, you'll automatically be enrolled in Parts A & B of Medicare when you turn 65. By law though, if you receive Social Security benefits and are eligible for Medicare, you must also have Medicare Part A.

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