More Medicare Basics
In Part 1 of this Medicare series I talked about signing up for Medicare and the various alternatives: Part A, B, C, and D. Let’s dive in to this a little more. But first a review:
- Enrollment begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and continues for 7 months.
- Delaying enrollment can result in penalties.
- You need to research and decide if you want
- Part A with or without Part B Versus Part C.
- Part D.
But . . . I’ll still be working at 65
If you will still be working, this may have an impact on your decision of which Plan to choose. But, you still need to sign up for Part A. There are benefits!
- There are no premiums.
- Even if you have an employer insurance, Plan A may help pay some costs not covered by your group health plan.
Deny Part B … not so fast
Then you may ask yourself: “If I’m still working and paying for insurance, do I want to sign up and PAY for Part B?”
Employer plan the primary insurer
First, talk to your employer. Is the employer’s plan the primary insurer?
- If your employer’s plan is primary, you may not want to sign up for Plan B right now.
- But note: If you work for an employer with less than 20 employees, you’ll probably still need to sign up for Part B.
- If Medicare is the primary, you will need to strongly consider signing up for Part B.
Denying and Penalties
Let’s say you decide to save money and deny Plan B. You may want to re-think this. Realize, 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!
** 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! **
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. Again, think this one through.
- 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.
- Ask your insurer!
Medicare Basics: 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.
- Social Security Administration-Keep this info handy for when you are ready to sign up for Medicare.
- or you can go to the local office.
- Medicare Rights Center 1-800-333-4114.
- AARP also has a website to answer questions.
- Interested in Part C or Part D? Medicare.Gov is a website that helps you search for plans.
- Contact Social Security 3 months before your 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare Part A. Tell them your decision about Part B.
- You will then receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card showing whether you have Part A or Part B or both.
- If you choose Part C and Part D, you’ll also have to call private insurance companies.