Part B: Dropping and Re-enrolling
Question: I will be 65 this year but plan to
continue working. I have insurance through my job but I am considering taking
Medicare and dropping my insurance through work. If I later change my mind and
want to drop Medicare and go back on my insurance at work, can I do that?
Answer: Yes, but there are guidelines that
effect your options.
you are receiving Social Security Retirement benefits you will be automatically
enrolled in Medicare Part A and you must take Medicare Part A, you may not
decline or drop it.
your employer has less than 20 employees, their health plan is, in most cases
Secondary to Medicare (or pays after) and you do not qualify to delay enrolling
in Medicare Part B without incurring a penalty once you do enroll. If this is
the case, you may enroll in Medicare Part B, drop it later and switch back to
the employer plan but at some point you are going to lose that employer
coverage and when you re-enroll in Medicare Part B you will be assessed a
permanent penalty, generally an additional 10% of the premium for each 12 month
period you go without Medicare Part B.
your employer has 20 or more employees, their health plan is, in most cases,
PRIMARY to Medicare and you qualify to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B
without incurring a penalty once you do enroll or reenroll. So the scenario you
described is an option.
are things you need to know before you do anything:
employers require a "qualifying event" to enroll or dis enroll from
the plan outside annual enrollment. Turning 65 is a qualifying event and losing
coverage is a qualifying event but voluntarily dropping Part B may not be
considered a qualifying event and you most likely will have to wait until your
employer's annual enrollment to reenter their health plan. Find this out from
your HR person before you make your decision.
out from your HR person if your plan is Primary or Secondary to Medicare. If
they don't know, call the phone number on your health plan ID card and ask
them. Getting the answer in writing is not a bad idea in case problems come up
down the road.
your employer plan is Secondary to Medicare and you decide to do this anyway,
you may only reenroll in Medicare Part B during Annual Enrollment January to
March of each year and Part B will be effective July of that year.
scenario will also affect your enrollment in a Medicare Part D Prescription
Drug plan and may result in delaying enrollment and penalties.
employers offer a wage offset if you are providing your own health insurance.
You might want to see if that is a possibility.
For answers to your Medicare Questions or to request a quote on a Texas Medicare Supplement or Part D Drug Plan visit www.MedicareAnswersfromConnie.com .