You might think that delaying retirement also delays your Medicare planning. But that’s not exactly true. There are still a few things to consider as you reach age 65.
If you’re approaching Medicare age, you should talk to your employer or benefit administrator now. That’s the best way to understand your options once you turn 65. Smaller companies may require you take full Medicare benefits. With larger employers, you can wait until you retire to enroll in Medicare.
If your employer does not require you to take full benefits, you may still want to enroll in Medicare Part A. As long as you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years while working, you qualify for free Part A. You will have 8 months to enroll in Medicare once you stop working OR your employer coverage ends (whichever happens first). But you’ll want to plan ahead and contact Social Security before your employer coverage ends, so you don’t have a gap in coverage.
However, make that decision about enrolling in Part A carefully. Because once you enroll in Medicare, you can no longer contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you have a high deductible health plan and an HSA account that you want to keep funding, you should delay enrolling in Part A.
Important: You may have heard about penalties for late enrollment in Medicare. In most cases those won’t apply if you’re still working and covered by a group health plan that includes creditable prescription drug coverage or if you qualify for free Medicare Part A.
For answers to other common Medicare questions, please read this article:
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