Are You Prepared for Retirement? The Right Questions for Your HR Department Manager

Are You Prepared for Retirement? The Right Questions for Your HR Department Manager
(Arkansas Senior Health Insurance Information Program)

If you are 65 years old or turning 65 and plan on continuing to work, the following information may help with asking the right questions with your Human Resource department manager. With the retirement age soon to be rising to 67, here's some basic information, readily available resources and questions regarding your insurance and Medicare coverage.

Medicare-eligible employees are gradually staying on the payroll and participating in their employee health benefit plans that may impact your health savings accounts (HSAs), if not now they likely will in the future.

When should I enroll in Medicare?

Generally, individuals can enroll in Medicare within a seven-month window around the time they turn age 65.

There are several parts to Medicare, with varying premiums, that employees should keep in mind:

  •  Part A covers Hospital Room Costs, Skilled Nursing Facility, Hospice and two (2) Pints of Blood. There is no premium for Part A benefits.
  •  Part B covers services such as Doctor Visits and Outpatient Services and Tests. There is a monthly premium for this benefit.
  •  Part D covers prescription drug costs; these privately administered plans charge a monthly premium
  •  Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans offered by Medicare-approved insurance companies in lieu of "standard" Medicare. These privately administered plans charge monthly premiums and provide coverage compatible with Medicare but with different out-of-pocket costs and rules.
  •  If you have a Health Savings Account, you and your employer should stop contributing to it 6 months before you sign up for Part A (or apply to start getting Social Security benefits) to avoid a tax penalty.

Is Medicare primary or secondary to employer coverage?

If employees are age 65 or older, they should understand whether their employer's coverage is primary or secondary to Medicare:

 I'm still working and... 

How my coverage works with Medicare (Part A & Part B)

My (or my spouse's) job has less than 20 employees
  • Medicare pays for services first, and your job-based insurance pays second.
  • If you don’t sign up for Part A and Part B, your job-based insurance might not cover the costs for services you get.
  • Ask the employer that provides your health insurance if you need to sign up for Part A and Part B when you turn 65.
My (or my spouse's) job has more than 20 employees
  • Your job-based insurance pays first, and Medicare pays second.
  • If you don’t have to pay a premium for Part A, you can choose to sign up when you turn 65 (or anytime later).
  • You can wait until you stop working (or lose your health insurance, if that happens first) to sign up for Part B, and you won’t pay a late enrollment penalty.

Be sure to contact your company’s Human Resource department manager or the Arkansas Senior Insurance Information Program, which will connect you with a local certified Medicare counselor who will answer your questions and help you may make the correct decisions on your Medicare choices.