Blowing out 65 candles on your birthday cake means more than just getting a senior discount at the movies. For many of my clients it means deciding whether to stay on their group health plan or switch to Medicare. As a Client Executive, I have the opportunity to help individuals navigate through their options. Over the years, there are two questions I am often asked by clients as they reach 65.
Question 1: I’m enrolled in a group health plan and turning 65. Do I need to enroll in Medicare?
No. According to Medicare guidelines, you may continue on your group health plan if you or your spouse is working and on the group health plan that is associated with that employment.
Question 2: I’m retiring at the end of the year, enrolled in a group health plan and am over 65 years old. When do I apply for Medicare?
It is best to apply for Medicare 3 months before retirement. Because you have been on a group health plan, you will not be penalized. Once you have Medicare and supplemental coverage, this will allow you to come off your group health plan outside of Open Enrollment.
If you are turning 65 and you continue to be an active employee, we recommend that you consider your options regarding your healthcare plan. Sometimes it is less expensive to join a Medicare plan than remain on the current employer-provided group plan. Every situation is different, so it’s a matter of looking at cost, preferences and your personal needs.
There are two major things to consider when deciding to enroll in Medicare or stay on your group health plan: