For the majority of people, turning 65 is a pretty big milestone. It’s often seen as the age where you officially become a “senior citizen”, and alongside that comes lots of new rights and responsibilities. One question that many seniors are asking is whether they need to sign up for Medicare at 65 if they’re still working. Here’s what you need to know.

This is the million-dollar question on the mind of anyone who is closing in on 65 years of age: “do they need to enroll in Medicare if they are still working? “

Enrolling in Medicare, which you generally become eligible for at age 65, could save you money on your health insurance costs. If you are 65 years old and still working and you receive health insurance coverage from work,  you get more flexibility and options.

Once you turn 65, you automatically become eligible for Medicare. You will have a seven-month enrollment window and this will begin three months before your 65th birth month, it includes the month you turn 65, and take its conclusion three months after. Timely enrollment in the program is highly recommended. Completing your enrollment in the proper timeline could save seniors from hefty penalties later on in retirement, which can add up over the lifetime of the program.

After you become eligible for Medicare and failed to sign up when you should, or complete the proper notification, you are risking facing a 10% surcharge on your premiums for Medicare Part B. And this is for each year that you went without any coverage. (Medicare Part A is free, thus many people do not have to deal with late enrollment penalties). 

However, if at the age of 65 you are still working, there is going to be a separate set of guidelines you need to follow. 

No Need to Double Up on Coverage

When seniors reach the age of 65, many of them are no longer employed or receive health benefits through work. It is important for them to sign up for Medicare as soon as they are eligible. Those who are still working at 65 and have a group health plan through work do not need to enroll in Medicare immediately.

If you continue to work after age 65, and your employer does not offer health insurance coverage for you, you should enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as soon as you are eligible, because this will become your primary insurance plan. 

Even if you already have health coverage, it makes sense to enroll in Medicare Part A on time. By doing so, Medicare can work as your secondary insurance, covering anything that your primary insurance (in this case, your employer’s health plan) doesn’t cover.  

If you are currently taking part in a health savings account and intend to continue doing so, there is an exception. Even if they remain to have insurance via an employer’s HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan, Medicare enrollees are not authorized to contribute to an HSA.

Medicare and the Special Enrollment Period

You can delay your Medicare enrollment if you are still employed and insured under that plan by the time you turn 65 (If you are covered by your employer’s plan, you won’t have to pay the Part B premium under Medicare Part B). If you quit your job or your employer discontinues your health coverage, you will have an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare. You will begin receiving the benefits the month after you leave your employment or the month after you cease receiving coverage under your group health insurance policy. 

If you sign up for Medicare anytime during those eight months, you won’t be charged a premium surcharge. And if you’re delaying Part B enrollment because you’re covered by your spouse’s employer-sponsored plan, the eight-month special enrollment period will be accessible also, provided the company you are working for has a headcount of at least 20 employees.

However, it must be a current employer health plan in both cases. You will not be immune from the late enrollment penalties associated with Part B if you have retiree plans or COBRA coverage. Furthermore, a special enrollment period will not allow you to enroll in Part B. The only option you have here is to wait for the standard enrollment period to begin. 

Run the Numbers

Although you are not required to join Medicare at the age of 65 if you have coverage via a qualifying group health plan, it may be a practical road to take if the health plan offered by your employer is more expensive. Calculate how much you’re paying for group health insurance, including premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Next, compare and analyze it alongside the costs you’ll pay under Medicare. You should account for all your healthcare costs. And when we say everything, this will include monthly premiums, coinsurance, deductibles, copays, vision, dental, and prescription drugs (if covered by your Medicare Plan)

If you wish to get prescription drug coverage with Medicare, you’ll need a Part D prescription drug plan in addition to your Medicare Parts A and B, or consider a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage. You may even realize that enrolling in Medicare at 65 makes the most financial sense, even if you are eligible for a special enrollment period later on.

So, Here’s Our Takeaway

Never miss your chance to enroll in Medicare if you’re one of the lucky people who will turn 65 years old anytime soon! With plenty of options to choose from, you can pick the best healthcare options available to you. If you’re still working, you can keep your perks and benefits as an employee for as long as you like. 

And remember – even if you’re not quite ready to turn 65 yet, it’s never too early to start making plans! So consider Medicare.  Our dedicated team of health insurance experts can provide you with more information about Medicare and your options. This way you will know more about what you are getting into, helping you along the way to make informed decisions for yourself.

Also, don’t forget to get our FREE “New To Medicare Checklist

Whether you have questions or would like help getting started on the path with Medicare, the Skyline Insurance Agency team would be happy to help.

Utah’s Premier Health Insurance Agency