5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2012 4:00 PM by JerryD

    When to sign up for Medicare

      My husband is over 65, and is still working, so our health insurance is through his employer.  Is he supposed to sign up with Medicare anyway, even though we need to keep his employer's coverage so that I can remain insured (I'm under 65)? Can he sign up for just the basic minimum Medicare plan and add more later, once he retires in a few years? 
        • Re: When to sign up for Medicare
          Chriskel
          Your husband should sign up for Medicare when he is eligible to receive SS benefits.  Medicare becomes his secondary insurance until he retires, at which point it becomes his primary insurance and his employer's insurance becomes his secondary insurance-if he still receives coverage as part of his employer's retirement package.
          He may have to pay a penalty if he waits until later.
          Talk to your Social Security Office.  They are knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions and show you your alternatives.
          • Re: When to sign up for Medicare
            KayCee
            Your husband should go ahead and sign up for Medicare Part A as it is most likely premium-free. If he has good employer insurance he probably should save the money he would pay for Part B until he retires. When he no longer has employer insurance he will have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty.
            • Re: When to sign up for Medicare
              mulbie
                   

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              Yes this whole Medicare business can be tricky.  We have  been getting our medical insurance through my husband's former employer  for years, since when he retired (more or less forcibly) at 59, he was  guaranteed that his medical insurance would be covered at no cost to him  until he reached 65.  After 65, he would have to pay the medicare Part B  portion that was greater than whatever it was at the time he retired,  but nothing else.  That was great for him, and for me, since I was  included in the package as his spouse, until I reached 65.  Then I had  to make a choice.  I could either switch my insurance to my employer,  and opt out of his company plan, or I could start Medicare Part B even  though I was still employed.  For the one year from age 65 to 66 it was a  nightmare, as I had to pay Medicare Part B out of pocket quarterly, and the insurance I got was much worse than I could have received for less  money through my employer.  I stuck with it that year, since if I opted  out I couldn't return to the plan later.  Now it is okay since I am  receiving my social security (since 66th birthday), and the Medicare  Part B comes out of that.  Surprisingly, the amount I am paying to  Medicare Part B is significantly less than I paid a year ago, although I  am still working and my salary is more than last year.  Fortunately, we  found a different supplemental plan within his company's choices this  year and all is well.  Let me tell you, figuring all of this out is not  simple, and I am only thankful that I had lots of advice to help me  out.  
               
              I was in a Medicare HMO for the first year I was on Medicare, and I  would advise anyone I know to stay away from those plans!  In our case we were told before enrolling that our doctors were in the plan, but  it turned out that any and all of the specialists that my husband and I  see (such as dermatologists, surgeons) were NOT in the plan!  I wound up  paying for most doctors out of pocket.  It was also something of a nightmare to get out of that plan after a year.  For the most part the Medicare  supplemental plans seem to be better and are more portable if you spend  part of the year traveling. We have discovered that the supplemental plan is costing his former  employer about $5000 for each of us this year, so we are very thankful  that he stayed with the company for more than 30 years.  None of this  medical coverage is inexpensive, that's for sure.
                • Re: When to sign up for Medicare
                  JerryD
                  Isn't it great to have all of those choices? I figure that we had better figure it out before we get too old or our choices will be what we have then, if we remember to pay the bill.
                   
                  Enough skepticism. There are Medicare and drug Internet aids out there that can help make the decisions that are best for you.  Not simple, but worth the work.