Medicare coverage is not mandatory, there are options to delay coverage if you’re not ready at 65 years old. Although, most Americans carry Medicare at some point.
Having some coverage is better than having no coverage. Don’t leave yourself without insurance, that could result in costly bills and late enrollment penalties.
Can You Opt-Out of Medicare
You can opt-out of Medicare if you’re working with creditable coverage through an employer. However, this means you must get benefits from a large company.
Now, delaying Medicare can result in penalties and buying the Affordable Care Act insurance after 65 is costly. For many senior Americans, buying Medicare makes the most financial sense.
Opting-out is an option if you have employer benefits and aren’t retiring; however, if you’re retiring, you’ll need coverage.
Delaying enrollment only results in penalties; so, don’t delay, enroll today!
Is it Mandatory to Sign up for Medicare at 65 Years Old
Many people wonder if it’s mandatory to enroll in Medicare at age 65. Well, there can be several answers to this, and that depends on you, and your situation.
Factors that come into play:
Are you retired?
- If retired, you more than likely need to enroll at 65 years old.
Are you still employed?
- If the company has less than 20 employees, you should enroll as soon as possible. If over 20 employees, you may have options.
How many employees are at your company?
- If there are more than 20 employees at your company, you may qualify for Medicare to be secondary. Or, you may want to delay Medicare. Talk to an agent about your options.
What is your group employee health coverage like?
- If you have great coverage, you can keep using it as your primary insurance and use the Medicare coverage as secondary insurance.
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before turning 65 years old and ends three months after turning 65 years old. You have seven months to enroll.
If you choose to enroll after IEP ends, you could face a penalty. Or worse, delaying Part B enrollment could result in having to wait for an eligible enrollment period which only adds to the cost of your late penalty.
What Parts of Medicare are Mandatory
Part A comes at no cost to most Americans. If you have 40 or more quarters (ten or more years) of employment, you’ll have Part A free. Those that qualify for free Part A should enroll once eligible.
Although, if you want to contribute to an HSA after age 65, delaying Part A will make sense. Once Part A enrollment is active, you can’t contribute to an HSA. Those that get Social Security benefits will need to take Part A unless they want to forfeit benefits.
Beneficiaries must pay for Part B and D; these are voluntary parts. However, if you delay either enrollment you will likely have late fees.
Is Medicare Part B Mandatory
Part B is optional, but penalties can be high if you wait too long. This covers physician visits, lab tests, outpatient surgeries, and even medical equipment.
If you choose to delay Part B during your IEP, you’ll have to wait for enrollment until your General Enrollment Period (GEP) starts. This means that you would have to wait nearly a year and a half to have any vital coverage
Penalties happen when delaying Part B; they can charge you up to 10% above the standard premium for a period of every 12-months that you don’t carry coverage. Also, the more time that passes, the higher the penalty.
Is Part D Mandatory
Part D is optional. This is your drug plan and can help pay for prescriptions.
Drug coverage is great to have even when you don’t have a monthly script. When you get a prescription for an antibiotic or another temporary drug, it’s nice to know you have coverage.
If you choose to enroll at a later start date, you have a penalty. If you have a plan through another carrier and it meets certain standards, you don’t have a penalty.
Those that take Medication may find even more financial relief by selecting the mail order pharmacy option through the plan. Mail order options generally mean a 3 month supply at a two-month or less cost; though this isn’t always the case.
Is Medicare Mandatory if on Disability
Beneficiaries who get Social Security Disability benefits are automatically eligible for Part A coverage.
Medicare disability eligibility begins after 25 months of disability. Depending on income levels, you may have monthly premiums to pay for your Part B, C, and D.
This amount that you would pay would be reliant on your monthly income. If you’re eligible for Medicare and you delay enrollment without having creditable coverage, you WILL receive a penalty.
The only instance where a penalty may receive a waiver is when you get extra help or Medicaid.
Is Medicare Mandatory for Veterans
If you’re a veteran who gets VA benefits, it’s not mandatory to enroll in Part B. However, the Veterans Affairs suggests both Part A and Part B.
Veterans have a much larger network of doctors and benefits when they have both Medicare and VA.
By choosing to opt-out or delay benefits, veterans may potentially have penalties when they need Medicare.
For veterans that qualify for TRICARE, you must have Part B to keep your benefits. To enroll in Part B, you need Part A or at least a Part A effective date. Also, it’s very important to keep your information in DEERS current.
Active duty members and family members can have Part A, TRICARE, and delay Part B. Then, once active duty status ends, you need Part B to keep TRICARE.
Are Medicare Wellness Exams Mandatory
This is an initial physical exam that will cover some vaccines, blood pressure, height and weight measurements, a basic vision screening, and calculations of your body mass index.
These appointments are not mandatory. If you go to a wellness visit, you must complete the visit within the first 12 months of joining Medicare.
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