Many beneficiaries have spent years pursuing a career they love and just aren’t ready to let it go. These beneficiaries may want to continue working and postpone their retirement past 65.

However, healthcare options can tend to get a bit confusing if you don’t retire at the age of 65. This is the age when Medicare eligibility kicks in and you may be wondering how postponing retirement will affect your healthcare.

When to Sign Up for Medicare When Still Working

  • You can (and should) enroll in Part A as soon as you’re eligible, regardless of your working status.
  • If your company has fewer than 20 employees, you’ll likely need to enroll in Part B.
  • Those enrolled in Part A who want prescription drug coverage – but can’t get it through their employer – can (and should) enroll in Part D.
  • A Medicare Advantage plan will replace your employer’s health plan and give you all Part A, B, and D benefits.

Can You Continue to Work and Still Enroll in Medicare?

Yes! You don’t have to retire in order to enroll in Medicare. The only eligibility requirements are to be at least 65 years old or have been collecting SSDI for at least 24 months. Whether you’re working or not is completely irrelevant when it comes to eligibility.

Should I Enroll in Part A if I’m Still Working?

Even if you have employer group coverage, you should still sign up for Part A. If you’ve been working for 10 years, Part A will cost you nothing. It’s premium-free! You’re essentially getting more coverage at no extra cost.

Should I Enroll in Part B if I’m Still Working?

Working beneficiaries will have to make the choice between staying on their employer’s plan, or enrolling in Part B.

If you actively work for a company with 20 or more employees, you can delay enrolling into Part B without penalty. If your company has fewer than 20 employees, you’ll need to enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period in order to avoid being penalized.

How Employer Coverage and Medicare Part B Work Together

Enrolling in Part B alongside your employer’s health plan is also an option. If you choose to obtain both health plans, Part B would be the primary payer for your coverage. Your secondary payer would be your employer.

If your employer still offers your insurance plan past the age of 65 and they have good coverage for your needs and lifestyle, putting them as your secondary payer may turn out to be more costly for you.

Should I Enroll in Part D if I’m Still Working?

Part D is the part of Medicare that provides coverage for prescription drugs. If your employer’s health plan offers coverage for prescription drugs, Part D may not be necessary for you. To avoid late enrollment penalties, make sure to talk to your benefits administrator to confirm your employer coverage is considered creditable under Medicare.

Should I Enroll in Medicare Advantage if I’m Still Working?

Medicare Advantage is a bundle of Medicare products that includes Part A, Part B, and Part D benefits. If you continue working and choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage, keep in mind that it will replace your employer’s coverage.

Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans come with many additional benefits such as dental and vision benefits. These plans may offer more coverage than your current employer.

To determine which plan you want, identify which plan offers you the best coverage at the best price point. With Medicare Advantage, you cannot dual-enroll in both Medicare and your employer’s insurance plan as you would be able to with Original Medicare.

Difference Between Active Employment vs. Retiree Benefits

There are different benefits beneficiaries can receive whether they’re actively working or deciding to retire. The main benefit that creates a huge impact on your healthcare plans is the enrollment period technicalities associated with both.

If you or your spouse are actively working, meaning your employer coverage does not come from retiree benefits or COBRA, then you’re exempt from late enrollment periods and are assigned a Special Enrollment Period.

If you’re retired and enjoying employer benefits, that does not count as being actively employed. When you choose to delay enrollment in Medicare, you’ll need to pay late enrollment penalties.

How to Get Help with Medicare Coverage While Still Working

Deciding whether or not to enroll in Medicare when still working can be overwhelming. Be sure to compare benefits between your current employer-sponsored coverage and Medicare to obtain the best coverage for you.

If you’re unsure where to start, we can help. Our licensed agents can review your current coverage to help you decide which route to go. Give us a call, or see what plans are available in your area now using our rate form.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.