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What are my Medicare options if I start coverage Feb. 1?

August 8, 2018

I have collected your articles on Medicare for years from the newspaper and finally bought your book and workbook. As I am approaching 65, I read the Medicare Survival Guide completely and found it to be an incredible resource. I have a question on my enrollment timing.

I will turn 65 in late September 2018. I plan on working four extra months after September through January 2019 to help with the transition of my job responsibilities. I am planning to enroll in Part A and Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period and not delay Part B.

I understand that I will be paying for Part B when I don’t need it because I am still working with group health coverage.

I wanted to make sure that:

1) I am enrolled in Medicare Part B before my 7-month Initial Enrollment Period ends on 12/31/2018

2) Begin a Medigap policy on Feb. 1 which is my first day of retirement without health coverage and want to start my Medicare Supplement.

Look forward to your opinion.

Bill from Houston

Bill:

Let me recap your timeline. You are turning 65 this September and will retire from your company; ending your employer health plan effective Feb. 1 when you want to start your Medicare Supplement.

Bill, you have two options to consider having your Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement and stand-alone Medicare Part D begin with a Feb. 1, 2019 effective date.

1) Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B three months before September, the month of September when you are turning 65 or October (one month after turning 65) to have your Medicare Part B, Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan begin by Feb. 1, 2019. (View Medicare Effective Date Schedule chart on page 5 of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition which explains Medicare enrollment times.)

Bill, your Medicare Part B premium will begin the month your Part B starts which could be September, October, November, December or January, even though you are covered by a group health plan and will not use Medicare.

2) You can wait to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when you are retiring in January which will be one month after your 7-month IEP enrollment period. Now you will want a SEP (Special Enrollment Period) taking the Request for Employment Information form OMB No. 0938-0787 to the HR department of the employer or employers in January, one month before you are retiring since turning 65 and taking the form to the closest Social Security office for processing. Your Medicare to begin Feb. 1, 2019, and you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement with a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.

As you can see, Bill option #1 is a good option with your Medicare beginning before Feb. 1, 2019, but you may be paying for Part B for a few months, even though you will not be using Medicare yet.

Option #2 is also a good option with your Medicare Parts A and B beginning on Feb. 1, 2019 and you not paying Medicare Part B premiums in advance when on employer’s group health plan.

These options are discussed in the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition or at www.ABBS4U.com.

Coming in August … Confused about Medicare Webinars. To register, visit www.tonisays.com and click on the Webinar tab. Watch a Toni Says® Confused about Medicare workshops in the comfort of your own home or office setting.

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, offers a Toni Says® Medicare column readers discount available at www.tonisays.com. Email Medicare/long-term care questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-TONI (8664).

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