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Medicare Basics
Special Enrollment Periods

Under certain special conditions (like working past 65), you may be able to sign up for Medicare outside of regular enrollment periods.

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Working Past 65

Each year, more people choose to work past 65. If you are planning on working past your 65th birthday, here are a few things you should know to help ensure you get the most out of your retirement budget.

If You Are Working Past 65 and Have Employer-provided Coverage:

Speak with your employer to determine if you need to enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B and what coverage options may be available to you as part of your employment. You may have coverage available to you through your employer or through COBRA.

In the months leading up to your 65th birthday, confirm with the employer who provides your health insurance — whether it's your employer or your spouse's — that they will continue to cover you after you turn 65.

If coverage ends when you turn 65

Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B (also known as Original Medicare). You may also need additional coverage for the costs that Medicare does not cover. Consider a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan.

If your employer-based coverage continues after you turn 65

Confirm the following three things with your employer:

  1. Will your group health plan or will Medicare be your primary payer? If Medicare is primary (which can be the case for businesses with fewer than 20 employees) you may need to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.
  2. Will you have COBRA or a retiree health plan? If the answer is yes, you may also need to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B — check with your employer about the next steps you should take in these cases.
  3. What does your current group plan cover, and how much does it cost? Depending on your plan options and health outlook it may be cheaper to drop your group coverage and enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Supplement (Medigap) plan than keep your employer-based coverage. You will need to first enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B so be sure to factor in your Medicare Part B premium cost when comparing your options.

If You Work for a Small Company or Are Self-employed:

Many people who work for a small company or are self-employed purchase individual or family plans through the federal Marketplace or a private insurance company. If you have an Individual and Family plan, also known as an individual Qualified Health Plan (QHP), you may have more affordable Medicare options available to you.

Look into your Medicare choices

Original Medicare with a stand-alone Part D plan and a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, or a Medicare Advantage plan, offer coverage options that may be more comprehensive and have lower costs than your QHP.

You can keep your QHP coverage, but it may be a costly choice

If you keep your plan after enrolling in Original Medicare, you may not qualify for any tax credits to help pay for your plan's monthly premium, which will make it much more expensive. There's also no guarantee that your plan will pay anything toward your health or drug claims after Medicare pays, so you may be paying a high premium for little to no coverage.

Medicare Late Retirees

If you're working past 65, here's additional informnation to help ensure you get the most from your health care dollar.


Website Last Updated: 6/1/2017
Y0041_HM_17_43499h Approved 6/26/2017