Turning 65 and Work For a Small Employer? Sign Up For Medicare Part B!
The general rule of thumb is if you have employer insurance through active employment, you can delay Part B of Medicare without penalty.
But that certainly doesn’t mean you should! There are cases, of course, when your employer plan is the better value, and it works out for you to opt out of part B. However, in other situations, it may be very costly.
For example, consider the woman who came into our office earlier this year with an $8000 bill for her outpatient surgery. She opted out of Part B, but she had insurance through active employment. Shouldn’t her employer plan cover it?
Well, not always. You see, her insurance was provided through a company that employed less than 20 people. This made Medicare the primary payer of her insurance. And when she didn’t have Medicare? Well…it wasn’t good.
The costly mistake had to do with how coordination of benefits works between employer insurance and Medicare. Let’s take an employer health insurance plan that covers 80/20 as an example (insurance pays 80%, you pay 20%)
When an employer plan covers 20 or more employees, the employer plan is the primary payer of your claims. Therefore, your employer insurance pays 80% of the bill and Medicare (if you have it) pays the remaining 20%. In this case, it is not necessary to have Part B; you can opt out. You’ll have to pay the remaining 20%, but it saves you the $134.00 a month Part B premium.
But if your employer plan covers less than 20 employees, Medicare pays first. The whole thing is flipped. So what if you get the previously mentioned expensive surgery and don’t have Medicare? It will not just carry over to your employer plan. They won’t pay the 80% that was supposed to be covered by Medicare. Instead, you will be lucky to get them to pay the 20%, leaving you on the hook…80% or more on the hook, which might just be $8000 in uncovered surgery procedures.
This is why it is so important to ensure that you are signing up for Medicare at the right time. Just because your neighbor can opt out of part B doesn’t mean you can. They might work for a Honda or a Copeland, a company with thousands of employees. You might work for a small business of 15 people.
So check with your boss or human resources department. Ask and make sure. It could save you from an unexpected, expensive, and potentially crippling bill.
Confused about Medicare and not sure what to do next? Download our free E-book here, and let us walk you through it! Still have questions? Call our office at 937-492-8800 to schedule a free, no obligation appointment!