Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • March 2018
Written by 

You have a new health insurance option if you want to keep working past age 65

Health insurance planning in retirement begins for many of us as we approach age 65. This is also true if we want to keep working.

At age 65, we are entitled to Medicare, a government sponsored health insurance program that has been around since July 1, 1966. Medicare Part A Hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B Medical insurance can offer you better benefits at lower cost.

Your decision to enroll into Medicare at 65 is separate from electing your Social Security benefits. For example, you can get Medicare at age 65 and continue to work without electing Social Security benefits.

When To Enroll

You can enroll into Medicare Parts A and B three months before your 65th birthdate month and your coverage would begin the first of the month you turn 65.

What Does It Cost?

If you or your spouse worked and paid into Social Security and Medicare for 40 quarters, or 10 years, the Medicare Part A Hospital insurance cost has always been zero or no cost. The cost or premium for Medicare Part B Medical insurance has increased from $3 per month in 1966 to the current cost of $134/month. Your Part B premium can cost $187.50 to $428 if you are a higher income earner (>$85,000 single or >$170,000 couple) under Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. Since 2011, the IRMAA requires higher income earners to pay higher monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B and D.

Part D Drug Coverage

In 2006, Medicare added Part D for prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are supported by the government, but purchased from private insurance companies. Part D premiums start at about $20 per month in 2018. The Part D IRMAA adds $13.30 to $74.80 to your monthly Part D premium.

Part C Plans

Medicare offers you great coverage with many options and protections. With your enrollment into Part A and B, you also have an option to buy a Medicare Part C plan. These private plans, also known as “Choice” or “Advantage” plans, are government contracted to provide you your Part A and B benefits. Many Part C plans also include Part D for drug coverage along with extra benefits to keep you well. These plans begin at no extra cost or premium over your Part B monthly premium.

MSA Plans

Another option is a Part C Medicare Medical Savings Account plan. These plans follow the same concept of HSA plans. Any balance left in your MSA savings rolls over each year.

If your employer group medical plan costs you more than $134/month, you would want to take a look at your Medicare options to see if you can get better coverage at lower cost from your new entitled Medicare benefits at age 65. 

John Ulness

John Ulness is co-owner of Ulness Health Insurance & Wellness in Appleton. He helps people in Wisconsin understand their health insurance options to control costs and enroll. He can be reached at 1-800-386-0876 or [email protected]

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