When you turn 65, you become eligible for Colorado Medicare, but is it actually mandatory to go on Medicare at that age? And what do you have to do to sign up?
Rules Regarding Mandatory to Go on Medicare
If you sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 and sign up on time, you can avoid any premium surcharges. However, if you’re still working when you reach 65, there’s more leeway.
Some seniors look forward to signing up for Colorado Medicare as soon as they’re eligible. Others who are still employed may want to delay for a while. So, is it mandatory to go on Medicare in Colorado as soon as you reach your 65th birthday?
Signing Up on Time
The initial enrollment window for Medicare is seven months. It starts three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after your birthday. Usually, Medicare recommends that seniors sign up during this window. This will help them avoid costly penalties that add up over their retirement years.
If seniors don’t sign up for Medicare on time, there’s a risk of a 10 percent surcharge. Colorado Medicare applies the surcharge to the premiums for Part B for every eligible year you don’t have coverage. Medicare Part A generally is free, so there won’t be any penalty for late enrollment for most seniors. If you are still employed when you reach 65, though, there are different rules.
Don’t Double Your Coverage
A lot of seniors retire when they reach 65. Therefore, as soon as they’re eligible, they sign up for Medicare. For those who are still employed and covered by their employers, it’s not mandatory to go on Medicare. This applies if your coverage is under an employer’s group health plan with at least 20 employees.
However, even if you have health coverage, you may want to consider enrolling in Colorado Medicare Part A. It doesn’t cost anything and allows Medicare to be secondary insurance. Having double coverage means if your primary health plan from work doesn’t cover a specific treatment, Medicare may pay for it instead.
There is one exception. If you contribute to an HSA (Health Savings Account) and want to carry on contributing, you can’t register for Colorado Medicare. Those enrolled in Medicare can’t contribute to a Health Savings Account, even if their employers’ high-deductible HSA-qualified health plan still covers them.
The Special Enrollment Period
Delaying Medicare Part B enrollment is possible for individuals who work for an employer with more than 20 employees. For this to apply, individuals must have coverage from their employers when they reach the age of 65. This allows the employee to avoid the premium for Part B while the employer is still providing coverage.
In such circumstances, Colorado Medicare provides an eight-month special enrollment period for an individual to sign up. Enrollment kicks in when/if employment ceases, or if the employer no longer offers coverage. The enrollment period begins the month following the ending of group health coverage or the employee leaving work, whichever comes first.
Anyone who signs up in those eight months won’t face any premium surcharges. This special enrollment period also applies to anyone delaying enrollment for Part B because of coverage under a spouse’s plan.
Note, however, that in either of the above cases, the employer must be a current one. Anyone covered under a retiree or COBRA plan won’t be able to avoid the late enrollment penalty. There is also no access to the special enrollment period for Part B sign up. Instead, it will be necessary to wait for the general period of enrollment.
To avoid errors or delays in signing up, look into hiring an independent medicare broker.
Do the Calculations
There’s no requirement for Medicare enrollment when you reach 65 if you have coverage through your qualifying group health plan. However, it may make sense to enroll in some circumstances. If your employer doesn’t subsidize your group plan, it may be better for you to enroll. Work out the amount you’re paying for your group coverage.
Also, check out your benefits under the plan. Then, compare those figures with your payments under Medicare. Bear in mind all the costs, including premiums, coinsurance, copays, and deductibles. Remember, if you want comprehensive coverage under Medicare, you will require a Part D plan. You must take this with Part A and Part B.
Evaluate Your Situation
It isn’t mandatory to go on Medicare as soon as you reach your 65th birthday. For some people, though, it will make sense to enroll in Colorado Medicare immediately upon turning 65. If you’re not working, it’s an obvious choice.
If you do work and have coverage through your employer, you’ll need to do the calculations. Only plans offered by employers with more than 20 employees qualify, though, so that’s another factor to bear in mind.
Though it is not mandatory to go on Medicare, it’s still a viable option for most people 65 or older. If you’re confused what to do, or which Colorado Medicare plan to sign up for, call for a free consultation. Let us ease your worries and help you find the right plan today!