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Medicare for Workers Over 65

Palm Springs, California (NAPSI) - Turning 65 has traditionally been associated with the start  of a person’s retirement and, accordingly, his or her Medicare  coverage. But if you are one of the 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day  and you choose to work past the traditional retirement age, it’s  important that you understand how this choice impacts your Medicare coverage.

 “Medicare enrollment can be confusing, especially if you work past  age 65 and have employer-sponsored health coverage,” says Tom Paul,  chief consumer officer, UnitedHealthcare. “Regardless of when you plan  to retire, it’s important to learn about Medicare as you approach your  65th birthday so you have time to consider your options and can  feel confident about the choices you make.”

Keep these things in mind:

Timing Matters: Pay attention  to your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is a seven-month period that  includes the three months before your 65th birthday, the month of  your birthday, and the three months after your birthday. You should  understand how your enrollment choices during the IEP could impact your  health care coverage both now and in the future. Keep in mind that many  people choose to enroll in Medicare Part A (for hospital care) when they turn  65 even if they have employer coverage. For most people, Part A is available  for no monthly premium and can be combined with some employer-sponsored  health plans.

Penalties and Gaps Are Possible:  If you don’t sign up for Medicare coverage during your IEP, you could  experience a gap in coverage later and could also incur penalties on your  premiums for Medicare Part B (doctor’s visits) and Part D (prescription  medications). To avoid these scenarios, be proactive in contacting Medicare  to notify them of your delayed enrollment and make sure you understand the rules  and requirements for future enrollment.

HR Can Help: Your employer’s  HR or benefits coordinator can help you understand your current health  coverage and when you should enroll in Medicare. Some key questions to ask:

• Should I enroll in Original Medicare while I continue to receive  employer-sponsored benefits? It’s not always an either-or situation.  Sometimes people can combine their employer-sponsored coverage with Medicare  benefits.

• Does my employer-sponsored plan offer prescription drug benefits  that qualify as “creditable coverage”? If the answer is yes, then  you won’t need to enroll in Medicare Part D as long as you have your  employer-sponsored coverage.

• When I am ready to retire, what steps will I need to take to fully  transition to Medicare coverage or retiree benefits through my employer? Be  sure to plan well in advance as it can take several months for your Medicare  enrollment to be processed, meaning you could face a lapse in coverage if you  wait until the last minute.

If you would like further information on Medicare, the IEP and how  Medicare differs from employer-sponsored health coverage, you can call  1-800-MEDICARE (TTY: 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or  visit these websites: www.Medicare.gov  and www.MedicareMadeClear.com.