UNITED STATES—Toni: I have two basic questions:

1) I am turning 65 in January, remaining employed until my wife, Lacy, turns 65 in 4 years. I would like to drop my medical coverage through my employer, but my employer health plan will not cover my wife without me. She would need to get individual health insurance if the total of her premium and my Medicare premiums with a supplement and prescription drug plan does not go higher than what I am currently paying (about 950.00 / month) through my employee plan.  No one that I have called has been able to help me with this.  Plenty are willing to sell me supplemental plans, but no one has offered anything for us as a couple.

2) If I am going to remain on my employer’s medical plan, do I still need to enroll in Medicare even though I will not use Medicare? If I do need to enroll, what plan should I enroll in?

Toni, can you provide guidance because I can remain on my employee plan for now until I retire. Thanks Rick Humble, TX.

Rick: Yes, the Toni Says® Medicare office can help guide you thru your Medicare issues since you are turning 65 in January, still employed with employer group health benefits and a spouse under 65 who is on your group health plan.  The Toni Says® office specializes in searching for the proper answer to your specific Medicare needs.

The Toni Says® motto is, with Medicare it’s… “What you don’t know that WILL hurt you!”

Below are the answers to your Medicare questions:

1) Rick, you are in your Medicare initial enrollment period (IEP) and can enroll in Medicare Parts A & B, 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 months after. Your Medicare Part B and D premiums will be based on your income from 2 years ago which is 2017 and if your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is over $170,000 as a couple, then your Medicare premiums will be more.  Good News…Rick…you have a special protection because you are currently employed and can delay your Medicare enrollment until you decide to retire.  The main concern I see is regarding your wife, Lacy enrolling in an individual health insurance plan is if she has any health issues. Until I know that answer, I cannot say if leaving your employer group health plan would be a good or bad option for you and your spouse.

2) If you remain on your employer benefits, you can delay enrolling in your Medicare until you retire when your wife turns 65 as I said in answer #1. You will want to apply for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when you retire and wait until you retire to search for the right Medicare plan.

Telemarketers marketing Medicare plans confuse those who are turning 65 by pressuring those already stressed with making Medicare decisions. Many believe they may be making a mistake because they did not enroll in Medicare and could receive a Medicare penalty, but have protection because they are “still working” and have employer health insurance.

Rick, the new American Baby Boomer Society website has Medicare courses that may help to answer other Medicare questions at www.abbs4u.com.