When I found out I had an appointment with an 82-year-old client, my first thought was what in the world can I help them with? Surely at this age, they have their Medicare, Social Security, and financial retirement plan, as well as a Trust or a Will. What could they possibly need? Enter Ruth Ann, my new 82-year-old client.
It turned out that Ruth Ann was finally going to retire from her job at a major corporation where she had continued to work because she loved her job. She had never signed up for her Medicare and was very concerned about all the penalty nonsense she kept hearing about from her friends.
She received Part A when she enrolled to start her Social Security benefit check. Her question was simple, “Am I going to have to pay a penalty?” I answered her question by asking her two questions. (1) Are there more than 20 employees at your employer on the company health insurance plan? (2) Is your employer health plan “Creditable Coverage”? Creditable Coverage basically means the plan at the employer is as good as what is available with Medicare coverage. Her answer was “Yes” to both questions.
I then reviewed with her that all she needed to do was have her employer sign a “Verification of Employment” form. Your employer is basically attesting that “yes, we’ve covered this person with our health plan for all this time, and, there has been no interruption of coverage”, that she has indeed been on the company health plan since she was 65 years old. This form is what keeps you from paying a penalty for not signing up for Medicare at age 65. She will then take the form to the local Social Security office to enroll in Medicare Part B (she already had Part A). You’ll want to do this about 2-3 months before you are going to separate from the employer health plan B because it will take a few weeks to get your new Medicare card in the mail. Once you have your Medicare card showing Part A& B, you can then apply for a Medicare Advantage plan or keep Medicare as your insurance and add a Supplement (Medigap) and a Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
Ruth Ann was greatly relieved and said that this had her worried for months. She was glad to hear she would suffer no penalty. So if you are going to work past age 65 (and have an employer plan with more than 20 employees on the employer plan and it is “Creditable coverage”), you can keep working, keep your employer plan if you like it, and down the road get your Medicare A&B with no penalty nor loss of options when you separate from your employer. OR …. keep your job, drop the employer plan, and enroll in Medicare the month you are eligible and select a Medicare plan. Many times, we find that either the employee will save money on their monthly premiums, deductible or Max Out-Of-Pocket (MOOP), or have improved medical benefits with a Medicare plan. So do your shopping and compare!
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