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Treading the Waters of Medicare and Employment at 65

So, you’re approaching the big 6-5 but aren’t quite ready to hang up those work boots?  Well, you’re in great company. While many envision retirement paired with Medicare enrollment, a growing number of professionals choose to work past 65.  But, with this decision come unique challenges and often myths surrounding Medicare. Here’s how to sidestep common pitfalls and make the most out of your healthcare options.

Decoding the Myths: Small vs. Large Employers and Medicare Dynamics

Before we delve deep, understanding your employer’s size in the eyes of Medicare is crucial. It can make a world of difference to your choices and finances. Small Employers (19 or Fewer Employees):
  • When you’re part of a “small group”, and you celebrate your 65th birthday, a shift occurs. Medicare suddenly takes the lead role as the primary payer for your medical bills.
  • Here’s a kicker: If you miss the Medicare enrollment boat, your pocket becomes the target for all those medical expenses.
Larger Employers (20 or More Employees):
  • There’s some breathing room here. You won’t be cornered into enrolling in Medicare the moment you turn 65. However, here’s the golden nugget of advice: Always, always compare the financial implications of your employer’s health plan with Medicare. Sometimes, making a timely switch saves you a substantial amount.

The Medicare Enrollment Window: Mark Your Calendar!

The window to join the Medicare brigade is broader than you might think. This enrollment period stretches three months before, during, and three months after your 65th birthday month.  It might sound like a generous time frame, but you’d be surprised how many let it slip by.  Don’t be that person.

Diving Deeper: The Nuances that Make a Difference

Let’s unearth some lesser-known yet essential tidbits that can save you from future headaches: If you’re relying on those Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan subsidies, be prepared. They pack up and leave the moment you qualify for Medicare at 65. For those with a Health Savings Account (HSA): enrolling only in Medicare Part A might not be your best play. Dive deeper into this to ensure you’re making the best choice. A little surprise for those already reaping the benefits of Social Security before hitting 65:  You’ll find yourself auto-enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.  But, if you’re a part of a larger employer group, there’s flexibility. You can delay or even opt out of Medicare Part B. Here’s one for the books:  If you find yourself enrolled in both Medicare and your employer’s group health plan (and your employer boasts of 20+ employees), you might be sending extra dollars down the drain without even realizing it. It’s always good to pause, analyze, and then proceed.

Continuity is Key: Maintain Health Coverage

It might sound basic, but ensuring continuous health coverage from age 65 is more than just a good-to-have.  It’s essential if you want to qualify for special enrollment periods later.  Staying informed and covered can mean the difference between smooth sailing and navigating rough seas in your healthcare journey.

The Final Word: Making Informed Choices

The intersection of working beyond 65 and navigating Medicare is often dotted with confusion, myths, and genuine concerns.  However, with a bit of groundwork, staying informed, and occasional expert advice, you can make choices that don’t just work – they excel. Ensure your transition into the world of Medicare is seamless, efficient, and tailored to fit your unique needs.  Your future self, still working or not, will undoubtedly thank you for it.

Join the Inner Circle: Stay Ahead of the Curve

Keen to dive deeper? Explore “Prepare for Medicare” and “Prepare for Social Security” to enrich your knowledge base. And don’t stop there. Subscribe Today to The Matt Feret Newsletter for insights that put you leagues ahead in the Medicare, Social Security, and retirement game. For those who want to zoom in on Social Security, PrepareforSocialSecurity.com is your go-to hub.