Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. But does that mean you are required to sign up, even if you are still covered by an employer-provided health plan? In this episode of our Medicare Minutes series, we discuss the options individuals in this particular situation have. We hope this information will help you answer the common question: “Should I enroll in Medicare if I’m still working?”
Should I enroll in Medicare if I’m still working?
More and more people are continuing to work after becoming eligible for Medicare at 65. Those who fall into this category have a few options when it comes to handling their healthcare coverage.
First things first: turning 65 does not mean that you are required to enroll in Medicare. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that Medicare automatically becomes your only option for healthcare coverage.
Healthcare can come from a variety of sources, like COBRA, TRICARE, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or, perhaps most commonly, an employer-provided plan.
While Medicare is often the most affordable healthcare option for Americans over 65, if you are still working for an employer who provides healthcare coverage when you reach this milestone birthday, you will likely have a few options for moving forward.
Option 1: Drop your employer-provided coverage & enroll in Medicare
Of course, once you turn 65, you always have the option to drop your employer-provided coverage and begin relying on Medicare for your healthcare needs.
Option 2: Wait until you retire to enroll via a Special Enrollment Period
If you are working for an employer with twenty or more employees, then it is likely that your coverage qualifies as “creditable.” This means that you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, and you can safely enroll in Medicare when you’re ready to, without being subject to any costly late fees.
Option 3: Coordinate your employer-provided and Medicare benefits
A third option is to enroll for Medicare while also keeping your employer-provided coverage. While this may sound complicated, Medicare’s coordination of benefits system actually makes this option relatively seamless.
If you’d like to learn more, click the link below to read a more in-depth article on Medicare’s coordination of benefits system.