Last week Mary Ann’s question was complex because she had various Medicare enrollment issues. Her husband is currently employed, and she is still covered under his group health plan, turning 65 and not sure if she should enroll in Medicare or not.
She has another option available to her which is waiting to enroll in Medicare after she has turned 65 and her husband Carl decides to retire and leave his employer group health plan. Carl will also be past 65 and never enrolled in Medicare Parts A or B or even a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan.
Below is the continuation to Mary Ann’s question…
Last week, I discussed what is Medicare’s standard enrollment when one is turning 65 and wishes their Medicare to begin during what Medicare calls:
- Medicare Initial Enrollment Period: which begins 3 months before turning 65, the month one turns 65 and 3 months after one turns 65. At this time, one can enroll in a Part C Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or apply for a Medicare Supplement during the Medicare Supplement/Medigap Open Enrollment period and you do not have to answer one (1) medical question to apply. Also, you can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription plan to accompany the Medicare Supplement.
There is another Medicare enrollment option available to Mary Ann’s situation because she has a working spouse with employer benefits and they can delay from enrolling in Medicare Part B without the “Part B late” penalty. This special time is called:
- Special Enrollment Period: For those leaving their or their spouse’s employment benefits past 65…should be followed exactly as Social Security deems. You or your spouse are “still working” are magic words when it comes to enrolling past 65 and losing your or your spouse’s company benefits. The Medicare and You Handbook, discusses under the title of “Should I enroll in Part B” about delaying Medicare Part B when you are leaving your or your spouse’s group benefits and “that you can sign up for Part B anytime during the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first”.
The process to enroll in Medicare Part B if you have delayed it is as follows:
- There are 2 forms available from Social Security’s website or from the Toni Says® office. (email@example.com) On the top of each form write in red letters “Special Enrollment Period”. Informing Social Security, you are signing up at the right time and keeps from giving you a penalty. **You are applying for a SEP (Special Enrollment Period).
- Form #1 Request for Employment Information: proof of group health care coverage based on current employment and past employment since turning 65. If you are married, you will need the same number of forms filled out for your non-working spouse and signed by the companies’ HR department for which you or your spouse has worked, proving the non-working spouse was covered by company insurance (if the non-working spouse is Medicare eligible)
- Form #2 Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B: this is your and your spouse’s application for medical insurance from Medicare known as Part B. Social Security fills out this form.
When leaving employer health plan, be sure your new Medicare Supplement or Advantage Plan with a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan begins when your employer health plans ends.
Toni King, Medicare Advocate, Founder/CEO of American Baby Boomers Society and author of the 2018 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition which is available at the ABBS or ToniSays. If you have any Medicare questions, please feel free to reach out to Toni at 832-519-8664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.