Many people continue working past the age of 65, which is the age to enroll in Medicare. Not sure if you should enroll in Medicare because you’re still working? You may need to enroll anyway, depending on the size of your employer.
Enrolling in Part A
If you’re not already getting Social Security benefits for at least 4 months before open enrollment, you will not be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. It’s recommended that most people enroll in Medicare Part A, which is usually free. Medicare Part A covers institutional care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. You will need to ask your employer if enrolling in Part A will change your current coverage.
Enrolling in Part B
Medicare Part B has a monthly premium that changes every year and covers outpatient and preventative care. If you do not sign up for Medicare Part B when you become eligible, you may have to pay a 10 percent premium penalty for each year that enrollment was delayed. There is an exception to this, though.
The exception for enrolling in Part B depends on how many people work for your employer. If your employer has 20 or more employees, you do not need to sign up for Part B until your retirement. After retiring, you will have an 8 month period to sign up for Medicare Part B without a penalty.
If you work for an employer that has less than 20 employees, you should probably enroll in Medicare Part B when you are first eligible to avoid a penalty. If you don’t enroll, your employer’s plan can refuse to cover you for services that Medicare would’ve covered. That would mean that you could end up paying for those services out of pocket.
Before making a decision about enrolling in Medicare Part B, you should first contact Social Security by visiting your local Social Security office or calling 1-800-772-1213.
Enrolling in Part D
Even if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B, you can still enroll in Part D, which covers prescription drugs. Enrolling in Part D is recommended with the same guidelines as Part B. If you already have prescription drug coverage from your employer, your insurance plan should send you a letter to let you know whether or not the company’s coverage is “creditable,” which means equal to or better than Medicare Part D coverage. If it is “creditable,” you will not have to pay a late-enrollment penalty if you decide to enroll in Part D later on.
Make sure to compare your current drug plan with your local options for Medicare Part D. If you find that Medicare offers better coverage for you, check with your employer that you are able to drop your drug coverage without losing your supplemental insurance.
If you have been receiving your Social Security benefits for at least four months, you won’t need to do anything to enroll in Medicare. Effective the month you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you are still working and not receiving your Social Security benefits yet, you will have to enroll by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or going online.