If you are an active employee who is starting to think about retirement, make sure you check the terms of your employer health insurance plan to see how it would fit with Medicare. Medicare health care coverage isn’t available to you until you reach age 65. There is an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) which begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. This is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. http://www.medicare.gov/eligibilitypremiumcalc/
Since employer health plans are primary and Medicare is secondary for active employees, some people delay enrollment in Medicare because they feel they do not need the coverage. However, as you approach retirement age, it may be wise to enroll in Medicare before you retire. Some company plans provide that if an employee retires after age 65, Medicare would be the primary insuror and the company’s coverage would be limited to the portion of the bill not covered by Medicare (the deductibles or the 20% co-insurance amount). Failing to enroll in Medicare in a timely way could have catastrophic financial consequences if you need surgery or other expensive services before you are enrolled.
Timing is everything. Gather your information from both your employer health insurance office and directly from Medicare, and piece it all together to make sure you are protected. Comprehensive health insurance is yet another part of asset protection for retirement. For all the general rules about Medicare, look at http://www.medicare.gov/
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