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Should you go on Medicare? By Stephanie Frisch

Most people should enroll in Medicare Part A (Hospital) when they’re turning 65, but certain people may choose to delay Medicare Part B (Medical) In most cases, it depends on the type of health coverage you may have.


f you or your spouse is still working, the size of the employer determines whether you may be able to delay Part A and Part B without having to pay a penalty if you enroll later. If the employer has fewer than 20 employees then you should sign up for both Part A and Part B when turning 65. If you don’t enroll at this time, you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty which will occur monthly for as long as you have Medicare Part B active. If your employer group health plan has 20 or more employees, and it makes sense to stay on this coverage when you turn 65 (there are factors to consider; how much the coverage costs for you and your spouse, how good the benefits are, what is your AGI for the past 2 years and currently as well) then you don’t need to do anything when you turn 65. But I highly recommend consulting with an experienced Medicare broker at this time to review the facts and eliminate the fiction. You won’t need to worry about a late enrollment penalty if this situation applies to you. If you’re eligible for premium-free Part A, you can enroll in Part A at any time after you’re first eligible for Medicare. Your Part A coverage will go back (retroactively) 6 months from when you sign up (but no earlier than the first month you’re eligible for Medicare). If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, and you don’t buy it when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a penalty. (You or your spouse must have paid 12 September 2019

40 quarters worth of taxes to have premium free Part A). When you decide to leave your employer/union group coverage, or it happens to end, you have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty. There are two forms that must be turned into Social Security in order to do this. If you opt for COBRA while transitioning to Medicare, don’t stay on it longer than 8 months. (It’s generally

very expensive and most people opt not to anyway). If you don’t enroll in Part B within 8 months of your employer group health plan ending you may have to pay a penalty for as long as you have Part B and you won’t be able to enroll into Medicare until January 1–March 31, and you’ll have to wait until July 1 of that year before your coverage begins. This may cause a gap in health care coverage and a lot of stress and concern for you.

Stephanie Frisch is the owner of Insurance 101 and is an independent insurance broker dedicated to helping others make “educated decisions” about their insurance choices when it comes to Medicare. For answers to your questions, or an in-home, no-fee consultation, call (949) 351-2443.

Profile for Jody Robinson

South County Magazine - September 2019  

South County Magazine - September 2019