Not everyone needs to enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. If you continue working past 65 or are enrolled on your spouse’s employer plan, you can delay your Medicare enrollment. If you delay Medicare part B enrollment then you can delay enrolling in Medigap.

While you may delay your Medicare enrollment, you may want to enroll in Medicare Part A only, as it is usually premium-free (no monthly cost). To delay your Medigap enrollment, however, you’ll want to delay your Medicare Part B enrollment. This may seem confusing. Don’t worry, we will explain how it works below.

Why delay Medicare Part B?

If you’re enrolled in an employer-based health plan, there may be no reason to enroll in Part B when you turn 65. Part B usually requires a monthly premium of $174.70, but since you have coverage through work, you likely won’t use the extra Medicare Part B benefits that you are paying for.

More importantly, once you enroll in Part B, your Medigap initial enrollment period (also called Open Enrollment) begins, which may force you to enroll in Medigap before you are ready. First, we’ll get to the brass tacks and explain a little more about Part B enrollment.

Sometimes you MUST enroll in Part B

While most people who have employer-based health coverage may delay Part B, there are 4 times this does not apply, and you’ll have to enroll in Part B:

  • If your spouse’s employer-based coverage requires dependents to enroll in Medicare at age 65
  • You or your spouse’s employer have less than 20 employees
  • If you are covered by your domestic partner’s employer-based insurance
  • If your employer-based health coverage becomes “secondary” to Medicare

If your employer plan becomes secondary to Medicare and you have not enrolled in Medicare, you essentially have no medical coverage from your employer-based plan. In this case, you’ll want to consider a Medigap plan.

Why enroll in Part B if you have an employer plan?

Sometimes enrolling in Part B, while you have employer-based health coverage, might still be the right choice for you. You will want to weigh the benefits of enrollment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are still working:

  • Does Medigap and Medicare offer better coverage than your employer plan?
  • Is Medigap and Medicare less expensive than your employer plan?
  • Is your employer plan’s prescription drug coverage “creditable” under Medicare?
  • Would a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) offer better coverage than your employer plan?
  • Would a Medicare Advantage plan be less expensive than your employer plan?
  • Do you want to keep your employer plan while taking advantage of Medicare health benefits?

Carefully consider all the above questions before deciding if you want to delay your enrollment. An important question above, is about your drug coverage. While this will not apply to most of you, some employer-based prescription drug coverage is not considered “creditable”. If you fall into this category and don’t enroll in Medicare Part D (drug coverage) you will have to pay a Part D late enrollment penalty.

Why delay your Medigap enrollment?

When you first become eligible for Medigap (aka Medicare Supplement), you can enroll without medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is just insurance-speak for an insurance company reviewing your medical history before approving or declining your application.

Most of us, by 65 have had a few medical bumps in the road. You don’t want these “bumps” to stop you from getting the coverage you want so try to avoid Medical underwriting if you can.

Delaying your Medicare Part B enrollment due to employer-based health coverage, will allow you to delay your Medigap enrollment until you or your spouse retires. This allows your Medigap initial enrollment period to begin at this time.

Next Steps

Once you have carefully weighed all your options and have decided enrolling in Medicare is the right option, you’ll want to choose a Medigap plan that meets your needs. You should definitely consider Medigap Plan G. It has a nationwide network of doctors and hospitals and it is currently our number one selling plan.

Get a Medigap Quote Enroll in Medigap

If Medigap is too expensive for you, you will want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans generally work with a small network of doctors and hospitals and may require that you see your primary care physician to see a specialist.

When you’re ready to enroll in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan call 800-930-7956.