UNITED STATES—Hello Toni, I have collected your articles on Medicare for years from the newspaper and finally bought your book and workbook.   As I am approaching 65, I read the Medicare Survival Guide® completely and found it to be an incredible resource.   I have a question on my enrollment timing.

I will turn 65 in late September 2018.  I plan on working 4 extra months after September through January 2019 to help with the transition of my job responsibilities.  I am planning to enroll in Pt A and Pt B during the IEP and not delay Part B.

I understand that I will be paying for Part B when I don’t need it because I am still working with group health coverage.

I wanted to make sure that:

1) I am enrolled in Medicare Part B before my 7-month Initial Enrollment Period               ends on 12/31/2018

2) Begin a Medigap policy on Feb 1 which is my first day of retirement without                  health coverage and want to start my Medicare Supplement.

Look forward to your opinion, Bill from Houston, TX

Bill: Let me recap your timeline.  You are turning 65 this September and will retire from your company; ending your employer health plan effective February 1 when you want to start your Medicare Supplement.

Bill, you have 2 options to consider having your Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement and standalone Medicare Part D begin with a February 1, 2019 effective date.

1) Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B 3 months before September, the month of September when you are turning 65 or October (1 month after turning 65) to have your Medicare Part B, Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan begin by February 1, 2019. (view Medicare Effective Date Schedule chart on page 5 of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition which explains Medicare enrollment times) Bill, your Medicare Part B premium will begin the month your Part B starts which could be September, October, November, December or January, even though you are covered by a group health plan and will not use Medicare.

2) You can wait to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when you are retiring in January which will be 1 month after your 7-month IEP enrollment period. Now you will want a SEP (Special Enrollment Period) taking the Request for Employment Information form OMB No. 0938-0787 to the HR department of the employer or employers in January 1 month before you are retiring from since turning 65 and taking the form to the closest Social Security office for processing. Your Medicare to begin February 1,2019 and you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement with a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.

As you can see, Bill option #1 is a good option with your Medicare beginning before February 1, 2019, but you may be paying for Part B for a few months, even though you will not be using Medicare yet.

Option #2 is also a good option with your Medicare Parts A and B beginning on February 1, 2019 and you not paying Medicare Part B premiums in advance when on employers group health plan.

These options are discussed in the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition or www.ABBS4U.com.

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Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® offers a Toni Says® Medicare column readers discount available at www.tonisays.com. Email Medicare/long term care questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832/519-TONI (8664).