Medicare Basics. Help to decrease confusion! Part 2

doctor pointing at medicare: medicare basics

More Medicare Basics

In Part 1 of this Medicare series I talked about the need to sign up for Medicare and the various alternatives:  Part A, B, C, and D.  A few key points:

  • Enrollment begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3months after that birthday.
  • Enrolling late can result in penalties.
  • You need to research and decide if you want
    • Part A … with or without Part B and Medigap
      • Or do you want to go with Part C
    • Do you want Part D?

But what if 65 and still have health insurance through employer?

Plan A: If you or your spouse are still working and have health insurance, this may have an impact on your decision of which Plan to choose.  But, you still can sign up for Part A.  There are benefits!

  • Part A – Hospital – there are usually no Premiums, so free for the coverage!
  • And, even if you have insurance through an employer, Plan A may help pay some costs not covered by your group health plan.  See https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/medicare-basics/working-past-65
    • “If the employer has 20 or more employees, then the group health plan pays first, and Medicare pays second. “
    • “If you have questions about who pays first, or if your coverage changes, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center at 1-855-798-2627”.

Plan B. This will cost money. Keep reading.

What if I deny Part B – I don’t want the costs?

** If you are automatically eligible for Part A . . . you will be enrolled in Part A and Part B.
If you don’t want Part B, you will need to opt out!  **

Denying and Penalties

  • Let’s say you decide to save money and deny Plan B.  Just know, if you don’t sign up right away, there may be penalties.
    • Yes, you are subject to a penalty for each year you don’t enroll.
    • Your monthly premium can increase by 10% permanently.
    • You then must wait until general enrollment to enroll which is usually between January 1 – March 31.
  • BUT this penalty does not apply if you are covered by an employer group plan that is available only to CURRENT employees.
    • Talk to your current insurance plan to see how it fits with Medicare Part B.
    • If your coverage is sufficient and you don’t need Part B, you will later be provided with a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to sign up for Medicare Part B without incurring a penalty!

Note: If the employer has less than 20 employees . . .  talk to your employer.  You may want to sign up for Part B.
If you don’t sign up for Part A and Part B, your health insurance might not cover the costs.

Also: Penalties with Part D

You may also decide you don’t want Part D. But if you don’t sign up right away, you may also receive penalties.

  • For every month you delay past the Initial Enrollment Period, the Part D premium will increase at least 1%.
  • BUT if you have drug coverage from a private insurer at least as good as Medicare’s, you can be exempt from these penalties.

Medicare Resources

We’ve covered some general information that will hopefully make this Medicare path a little easier.  But, this process ultimately takes time for you to think through the choices.

Here’s some additional information.

  1. Social Security Administration-Keep this info handy for when you are ready to sign up for Medicare.
  2. Medicare Rights Center  1-800-333-4114.
  3. AARP also has a website  to answer questions.
  4. Interested in Part C or Part D?  Medicare.Gov is a website that helps you search for plans.

 

A Few Reminders / Tips

  • Go to the Social Security website 3 months before your 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare Part A.
  • When you sign up
    • You will create or sign in to your “my Social Security account”.
    • You will indicate your decision about Part B.
  • Later: you will receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card showing whether you have Part A or Part B or both.

Reminder: If you choose Medigap, Part C or Part D, you’ll also need to contact private insurance companies to get prices.

Disclaimer: The information on this post and on the Barb Brady CPA website are for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be accounting, financial, tax, or legal advice. For further information, see Terms of Service.