Because eligibility begins at age 65, we tend to think of Medicare as health insurance for retirees. But because plenty of people are still working when they reach their 65’th birthdays, that isn’t exactly true. Medicare also covers workers who have reached this milestone, even if they are already covered by a group health insurance plan. So, you might be wondering what exactly to tell your older workers about Medicare…
Yes, they do need to enroll. As long as they (or their spouse if married) have worked at least ten years and paid taxes into the system, all workers are eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. Your employees might also be interested in Part B or D (prescription drug coverage) for a premium.
Yes, they can have Medicare along with another healthcare plan. For those who work for smaller companies, Medicare will become the primary plan and group health benefits will provide secondary coverage. Those workers will usually enroll in both Part A and Part B, since Medicare is their primary coverage.
For those employed by larger companies, their group healthcare plan remains primary with Medicare providing secondary coverage.
In most cases, having these two forms of insurance will mean lower out-of-pocket costs for the Medicare-eligible employee.
They can delay Parts B and D. For retirees, failing to enroll in Parts B or D at age 65 can result in higher premiums later if they change their minds. However, those who are still working at age 65, and covered by a group health insurance plan, can delay enrollment in Parts B and D without incurring a penalty. They just need to provide confirmation of coverage by an employer.
They must remember the deadline. Medicare will only remind your employees of the deadline if they are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, so in most cases this means the responsibility for remembering the deadline falls upon the individual. Remind older workers that they can enroll in Medicare beginning three months before their 65’th birthdays. That initial enrollment period lasts for three months afterward as well.
If you have questions about Medicare enrollment, and how those benefits work alongside a group health insurance plan, please give us a call. We can explain the rules in more detail, so that you can communicate accurate information to your employees.