If you are turning 65 soon, and plan on working past age 65 and will continue to have group health insurance through your employer, you have some investigating to do. Talk to your HR department and to the person that administers your healthcare benefits. Once you turn 65 and if you have worked 40 quarters (10 years) over your working lifetime, you are eligible to receive Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) without cost. Medicare Part A, if you qualify, is automatic, no sign-up is required. The decision to be made is whether you need to apply for Medicare Part B. Contact your HR department and let them know you are eligible for Part B of Medicare. In some cases you will not need to apply for your Part B until you decide to retire. The same goes for your Part D, which is your drug benefit. You need to know that your group insurance is “creditable coverage”. If your employer sponsored group insurance does have creditable coverage you will not need to sign up with a Part D drug plan. If you do need to apply for Medicare Part B. You can call 1.800.MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov and apply on-line.
I’M NOT WORKING PAST AGE 65, AND NEED TO APPLY:
If you are drawing on your Social Security and receiving your monthly Social Security checks, in most cases you don’t need to apply. You will receive your Medicare card in the mail approximately 3 months prior to the month of your birthday. Your Medicare card will show your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B effective dates. These dates, in most cases, are the 1st day of the month of your birthday. By keeping your Medicare card you are saying that you do want to participate in the Medicare program. If you decide you don't want to participate in Medicare Part B you must return your card. If you are opting out of the Medicare Part B you could be subject to a penalty of 10% per month of the Medicare premium for every month you are not on Medicare Part B. If you choose to keep your Medicare insurance you will need to explore your options for insurance to complement your Medicare coverage. You can explore Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans to find out what is going to best fit your needs. You will also need to explore Medicare Part D options. If you don't enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, you will also be subject to a penalty.
Once you have secured your Medicare benefits (Part A and Part B) you will have a total of 7 months to look at insurance plans. You have 3 months prior to Part A and the Part B effective date, the month of your birthday and 3 months after.
Please feel free to contact Ochsner Insurance and talk with an experienced agent who can assist in going you through the Medicare maze. Our services and expertise are a free service to you. Call Today!