Do I need to sign up for Medicare when I turn 65?
It depends on how you get your health insurance now and the number of employees that are in the company where you (or your spouse) work.
Generally, if you have job-based health insurance through your (or your spouse’s) current job, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare while you (or your spouse) are still working. You can wait to sign up until you (or your spouse) stop working or you lose your health insurance.
- If you’re self-employed or have health insurance that’s not available to everyone at the company: Ask your insurance provider if your coverage is employer group health plan coverage (as defined by the IRS.) If it’s not, sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty.
- If the employer has less than 20 employees: You might need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 so you don’t have gaps in your job-based health insurance.
- If you have COBRA coverage: Sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid gaps in coverage and a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty. If you have COBRA before signing up for Medicare, your COBRA will probably end once you sign up. If you're eligible for Medicare, you don't qualify for COBRA coverage without having to pay a premium.
How do I sign up for Medicare?
If you’re already getting benefits from Social Security, you’ll automatically get Medicare. If not, you’ll need to sign up. Reach out to us today and we will streamline the process of signing up for Medicare.
How does Medicare work with my job-based health insurance?
- Most people qualify to get Part A without paying a monthly premium. If you qualify, you can sign up for Part A coverage starting 3 months before you turn 65 and any time after you turn 65 — Part A coverage starts up to 6 months back from when you sign up or apply to get benefits from Social Security.
- If you have a Health Savings Account, you and your employer should stop contributing to it 6 months before you sign up for Part A (or apply to start getting Social Security benefits) to avoid a tax penalty.
Do I need to get Medicare drug coverage (Part D)?
You can get Medicare drug coverage once you sign up for either Part A or Part B. You can join a Medicare drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage anytime while you have job-based health insurance, and up to 2 months after you lose that insurance.
Even if you have a Special Enrollment Period to join a plan after you first get Medicare, you might have to pay the Part D late enrollment penalty. To avoid the Part D late enrollment penalty, don’t go 63 days or more in a row without Medicare drug coverage or other creditable drug coverage.
If you have other drug coverage: Ask your drug plan if it’s “creditable drug coverage.”
Each year, your plan must tell you if your non-Medicare drug coverage is creditable coverage. Keep this information - you may need it when you’re ready to join a Medicare drug plan.