Working beyond 65

Medicare Benefits
May 4, 2020

If you’re turning 65 but are still working, you’re not alone. Many people are unable – or unwilling – to retire at 65. Can you continue to work and receive Medicare benefits?

You are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, even if you’re still working full-time and enrolled in an employer-sponsored group healthcare plan. If your employer has less than 20 employees, speak to your benefits coordinator to find out if you should enroll in Medicare when you are first eligible.

If your employer has more than 20 employees, you may enroll in Part A (hospital insurance) when you turn 65, but you may consider delaying enrollment in Part B and/or Part D.

Delaying Part B when you’re still working

If your employer has 20 or more employees and you have creditable insurance coverage, you can delay enrollment in Part B without having to pay late enrollment penalties when you sign up later. In fact, it may make more sense to wait and enroll in Part B. When you leave your current job, you’ll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period for Part B.

Part B Special Enrollment Period

If you’re covered by a group health plan provided by your current employer, you may delay enrollment in Part B. When your employment ends, you will qualify for an 8-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP). The Part B Special Enrollment Period will begin the month after your employment ends, or the month after the group health plan coverage under your current employment ends. Most people who sign up for Part B under these circumstances will not have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Please keep in mind that COBRA and retiree health plans are not considered “coverage based on your current employment” and you will not be exempt from Part B late enrollment penalties.

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Part D prescription drug coverage when you’re still working

If you are turning 65 and continue to work, you may be covered by a group health plan that includes creditable drug coverage. “Creditable” coverage means that the insurance is expected to pay at least as much as Medicare’s prescription drug coverage. If you have creditable drug coverage when you turn 65, you can delay enrollment in Part D without having to pay late enrollment penalties later on. If you delay Part D enrollment until your employment ends because you’ve had creditable coverage, you will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. This Special Enrollment Period will last for two full months after you lose your creditable drug coverage.

If you don’t have creditable coverage and continue to work, you will want to consider enrolling in a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). If you wait, you may have to pay late enrollment fees for as long as you have your Part D coverage.

How Medicare works with other Insurance

If you enroll in Medicare while you have other healthcare coverage, there are “coordination of benefits” rules that will apply. If you need help understanding your coverage, contact Medicare’s Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center at 1-855-798-2627.

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