Employer coverage and Medicare Part B. So you decided to keep working past age 65 and stay on your employer coverage. You’re now thinking of retiring and you’re not sure what to do about Medicare. If you are like most retirees, you have Medicare Part A and an employer plan. The employer plan acts as your primary coverage and Medicare Part A acts as a secondary. This is a great option if you’re paying very little for your employer coverage. If your employer coverage is exceeding $200 per month in premium, you may want to continue working and use Medicare for your health insurance. Medicare is excellent health insurance and normally much better than employer coverage.

A Medicare Supplement, Part B of Medicare, and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan can cost as little as $275.00 per month. The best part of using Medicare instead of employer coverage is that you will only pay an annual Part B deductible of $183(2017). Once the deductible is met, you pay nothing out of pocket for Medicare Approved expenses. You can go to any doctor anywhere that accepts Medicare. You will not have referrals, co-pays, or networks to deal with.

How to get Part B of Medicare

The first thing to do is to determine when you are going to retire. Once you’ve determined that date, you’ll need to have two forms completed and returned to your local Social Security office.The first form is the actual Application for Part B of Medicare which you will complete. The second form is an Employer Verification Form which will need to be completed by your employer. You will then present both forms to your local Social Security office. You should be notified shortly thereafter that your requested effective date is confirmed. Once confirmed you will be all set for that specific start date of Medicare Part B. The effective date for Part B will always be the first of any given month.

Medicare Options once you have Medicare Part B

There are basically two options under Medicare. The first option is to give up Original Medicare and enroll into a Medicare Health Plan. These are commonly referred to as a Medicare Advantage HMO/PPO plans. You don’t lose your Medicare; you just no longer use your Medicare. These Medicare Health plans .normally have co-pays, networks, and require referrals. Most of these plans also include Medicare Prescription Drug coverage. They may also include a fitness membership. Some plans will even have dental, vision, and hearing benefits. These additional benefits sometimes have a premium.

The second option is to use Original Medicare. Purchase for example a Medicare Supplement Plan G. Original Medicare along with a Medicare Supplement Plan G will cover all Medicare approved expenses except for the Medicare Part B Annual Deductible of $183.00 (2017). You will also need a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Medicare or your local Medicare Adviser can help you with a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Joe DeAngelis
Medicare Adviser