By Andrew L Hibbard
Originally Posted: 22 MAY 2023
Updated & Revised:
Many retirees often overlook the coordination of coverage between retiree health insurance plans and Medicare, once eligible to enroll.
This is a critical and crucial component to managing your healthcare expenses in retirement to ensure your bills will be paid, paid by the right parties, and paid on time --- so you know without question you won’t be sent to collections and ruin your credit.
Retiree health insurance is becoming increasing less and less popular these days because many employers have discontinued legacy benefits like free healthcare in retirement for both you and your spouse --- they just can’t afford to pay your way after you stop working for them and contributing to the bottom-line profit margins.
Similar to the SmartStart Answers article I wrote in regard to concerns about “How COBRA coverage works with Medicare,” remaining insured through your former employer as a retiree likely requires you to sign up for both Part A benefits and Part B benefits.
Because Retiree health insurance plans are considered secondary coverage, just like COBRA, and sometimes may not meet the IRS requirement of “credible coverage.”
When retiree health insurance plans were designed, they are typically designed to supplement Medicare, and might not pay your medical costs during any period that you were eligible for Medicare but did not sign up for it.
For some, you may have retired before turning 65, and enrolled in your employer’s retiree coverage, and that’s all the healthcare coverage you needed. But you may find that the rules change when you reach Medicare age.
Without Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B in place, when you receive medical care --- inpatient or outpatient --- Medicare is the primary payer, so if you don’t sign up, there are two (2) costly consequences you may face.
2 Costly Consequences You May Face With Retiree Health Insurance If You Don't Sign Up For Medicare
A late enrollment penalty if you are no longer an “active” employee, are considered retired, and do not sign up for Medicare at 65. Your late enrollment penalty is a monthly surcharge that increase both your Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D prices, which you pay each and every month, until the day you die. It is not a payoff period and then you free and clear. Your Medicare late enrollment penalty follows you for life.
A gap in coverage because you lack a primary payer toward your out-of-pocket costs, which, more times than not, leaves you financially responsible for big bills. (There is a unique rule if you are a Federal Retiree and receive health insurance managed through OPM).
Now these major mistakes are absolutely avoidable with some proper, proactive planning.
Ok, there’s a lot to deal with, right? I get it.
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NEARING AGE 65 AND AREN'T SURE WHERE TO START?
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If you are TURNING 65 IN 4-6 MONTHS
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If you are TURNING 65 IN 1-4 MONTHS
, you are cutting it close to your Medicare late penalty period. If you have NOT yet filled out and filed your Medicare forms, you are behind and against the clock. It is URGENT we get together as soon as possible so I can do all I can, before it's too late, to help you avoid paying a costly late penalty for life. Click HERE
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HAVE MORE MEDICARE QUESTIONS?
Read the most common questions folks in WNY ask when they aren’t sure how to get started with Medicare. Click HERE
to see the complete Medicare SmartStart Answers article archive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew L Hibbard is a prominent name when mentioning Medicare in WNY, but one you may have never heard of. Working behind-the-scenes, he is a best-selling author, expert advisor and successful agency owner. Focused on educating first, Andrew prides himself on being considered “the only advocate in WNY fighting for better and more reliable Medicare resources, free from insurance company conflict of interests.”
To take away the stress of trying to tackle Medicare alone and feeling forced to figure it all out by yourself --- Andrew created the WNY Medicare SmartStart Program; a free, step-by-step plan, that holds you by the hand to sign up and start Medicare smartly. (More than 850+ people have gone through the program and call it “the lazy way to get Medicare done for you without costing you a dime”).
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