According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 9 million people aged 65 or older were employed in 2020. We have to agree that this group is a significant part of the workforce. As you might have known, clocking age 65 means you qualify for Medicare. In light of this, you need to make the right decisions in the few months leading to and after 65; otherwise, the consequences might be dire.
Now, for someone working at age 65 or above, the right decisions pertaining to Medicare must be made. We’ll take a look at what to do and what to avoid if you are still working at this age. Rest assured that you’ll be able to avoid penalties when you follow our tips.
Should You Sign Up For Medicare When You Clock 65?
You are not obligated to sign up for Medicare when closing in on your 65th birthday. However, you need to understand the circumstances surrounding the decision you are about to make. First, as a 65-year-old and still working, your current health insurance and the number of employees in the company you work for or that of your spouse are key determinants of your course of action.
Worthy of note is that you don't have to sign up for Medicare if you or your partner have job-based health insurance. You can decide to delay signing up for Medicare till when either you or your spouse stop working or when you lose your job-based health insurance (whichever comes first).
Importantly, if you are self-employed with health insurance, you need to speak with your insurance provider to ascertain if your coverage is an employer group health plan. If it isn't, you have to sign up for Medicare immediately after turning 65 to avoid the monthly late enrolment penalty.
Again, if your employer or spouse's employer has less than 20 employees, it is advisable to sign up for Medicare when you clock 65. This is to avoid situations where you have gaps in your job-based health insurance. Besides, it is also advisable to check and confirm with the employer before deciding.
Furthermore, if you have COBRA coverage, you should sign up for Medicare immediately after you turn 65. However, your COBRA coverage will end immediately after you sign up.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Are you 65 and still working? Then it would be best if you avoided these common mistakes as they might prove costly.
1. Health Savings Account Contribution
As a working 65-year-old person enjoying Medicare benefits, you should no longer contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). It is not uncommon for seniors to enroll for Medicare when still working. However, you should only be doing this if you are not contributing to an HSA. Besides, if you continue contributing, you might face high tax penalties.
Moreover, if your employer offers an HSA or a high-deductible health plan, it is advisable to talk to Medicare professionals like the Elite Medicare Specialists. They will advise you on the right step to take concerning Medicare and HSA.
2. Not Notifying Medicare When Leaving Your Job
All things being equal, your previous company will contact Medicare to update them of your loss of health coverage or retirement. However, you must check in with the company's HR department to ensure that they notify Medicare. Besides, it would be best to enroll in Medicare coverage as soon as possible. This is to avoid penalties.
3. Failure To Plan Ahead
Before signing up for Medicare, one common mistake you should avoid is failing to evaluate your options. You should consider your current coverage and lifestyle before deciding to stick to your employer's healthcare coverage or signing up for Medicare. This is to prevent situations where you'll pay higher premiums for extra coverage upon retirement. Again, we cannot stress how vital it is to seek out professionals to help you make the right decision.
4. Forgetting The Medicare Enrolment Deadline
If you have finally decided to retire, you have eight months of ‘special enrolment period’ to sign up for Medicare Premium Part A and Part B coverage. If you miss the special enrolment period, you will have to sign up for Medicare during the general enrolment period. However, you will have to pay the late enrolment penalty. Note that the general enrolment period starts on January 1st and ends on March 31st.
It is crucial to put into good use the advice in this article to avoid costly consequences. Remember, your mind should always be on figuring out the best time to enroll for Medicare when working past 65. Importantly, it would help if you also spoke with professionals on this issue. They will help you determine the right course of action to take.