Dave and Diane had met with us a few years ago and had determined that at age 65 they would both keep working and keep their employer plans for healthcare, and not sign up for Medicare. We reminded them that is okay if the health plan at work is “Creditable Coverage” and there are at least 20 employees on the plan. They both worked for large organizations and stated that meeting these requirements wasn’t an issue.
Fast forward three years. They were now both age 68, still working, and called and asked for a meeting to discuss Medicare…again. No problem! We meet with folks multiple times to make sure they are educated about their health coverage before they make a decision.
Dave and Diane were both very concerned that all of their friends and their HR staff at their employers insisted that they had messed up big time and were going to pay a large penalty because THEY FAILED TO SIGN UP for Medicare A & B when they turned 65. Their friends proudly showed them their Medicare cards and told them “We did it correctly and you didn’t.” Even the HR staff at their employers scolded them and directed them to get to their local Social Security office as soon as possible because they had to sign up or else!
Their question to us was “You told us we didn’t have to when we met last time. Why are all these people telling us we messed up?” I smiled and explained that when your friends and HR staff are telling you how Medicare works, simply ask them “are you licensed and certified to discuss Medicare?” HR departments at employers are notorious for giving out poor or outdated information and have no idea what current rules and regulations are in place. We do.
As long as you are working and your employer health plan has 20+ employees on the plan and the plan at the employer is “Creditable” (basically meaning “as good as Medicare), and if the employer health plan includes prescription drug coverage, you do not have to sign up for Medicare A, B, C, or D. Then about 5-6 months before you think you are going to retire, come see us so that we can assist you. We want to create a comfortable glide path into retirement and what you need to do for Medicare and when.
They thanked us for reassuring them they had indeed made the correct decision and were relieved that they had not “Messed Up”!
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