Yesterday I received a call from a contact who does employer group benefits. He was asked by his client company to clarify for their employee – who turned 65 last year and signed up for both Medicare Part A (hospital benefits) and Part B (outpatient services) – how the employer benefits worked with Medicare. I let my contact know that because the employee worked for a large employer, her Medicare benefits would be secondary to the employer’s health insurance. In many cases, Medicare will have no coverage responsibility after the employer health plan has paid the claims, therefore she may want to consider cancelling her Part B with no penalty. Note: Part B does have a premium and that premium is based on the income shown in an individual’s/couple’s tax return.
I suggested that he let the woman know that she should consider contacting Social Security (the administrative arm for Medicare) to let them know that she wanted to cancel her Part B for now and save on that premium. When she is ready to retire and/or the company’s health benefits are significantly lessened or become increasingly expensive, she can re-contact Social Security to re-activate her Part B benefits with no penalty.
If someone you know is getting close to age 65, recommend that they talk to an individual who specializes in Medicare insurances who can advise them on their options.