Medicare and Working Past 65

Has the recent economy made you think about continuing to work past 65?  Or do you just love your job so much that you do not want to think about retiring?  Remember that you are eligible for Medicare when you reach 65 years of age. If you are covered by employer group health insurance and the employer has 20 or more employees, you can defer Medicare Part B until your coverage or employment ends, whichever comes first.

Physician and Out-Patient Coverage—Medicare Part B

Why would you want to defer Medicare Part B?  Part B, which covers the physician and out-patient medical expenses, carries a monthly premium. In 2014, the Part B premium is $104.90 per month. So if you have that eligible employer group coverage, you can defer this cost until your coverage or employment ends.

Hospitalization Coverage—Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A, hospitalization coverage, does not have a premium–unless you or your spouse has not earned the necessary 40 Medicare-eligible credits of work (approximately 10 years of work). If you are already receiving Social Security income payments, Medicare Part A will automatically become effective at 65.


Prescription Drug Coverage—Medicare Part D

If you have employer drug coverage, it will probably take the place of separate Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage. When you turn 65, you must check if your employer coverage is “creditable”– actuarially equivalent to the base Medicare Part D approved by Congress. If it is creditable, you do not need to make any changes until you no longer have this coverage.

Enrollment Periods for Medicare

If you are not working at 65, you normally sign up for Medicare through Social Security. Your Initial Enrollment Period is 7 months long–3 months before your birth month, the month you turn 65 and the 3 months after your birth month. However, if you defer Medicare Part B due to employer coverage, you will have an 8 month Special Enrollment Period when your (or your spouse’s) work or group health coverage ends, whichever comes first. If you miss these individual enrollment periods, you may have a premium penalty and/or gap in coverage.

How to Initiate your Special Enrollment Period

Please take note that you must file the appropriate paperwork with Social Security in order to avoid the premium penalties and/or gap in coverage. If you deferred Medicare Part B and/or Part D because you had employee coverage acceptable to Medicare when you turned 65, make sure you submit the following forms to the Social Security Office before you or your spouse leaves work, preferably at least a month before. Going online or calling will not be sufficient.

CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Form L-564—employer form that validates you had group coverage


CMS Form 40B—request to start Medicare Part B


Both of these forms must be received by Social Security before you can sign up for a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare supplement. When these forms are received by Social Security, this will begin your 8 month Special Enrollment Period.

Check Your Benefits

If your employer coverage is not active employee coverage, but is actually COBRA coverage or retiree coverage, you need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. Do not defer Medicare Parts A or B.

Check your employer benefits against Medicare Advantage or Supplemental coverage in your area. Medicare may be more complete coverage at a more affordable rate. However, Medicare is always individual coverage. If you have dependents whom you cover with your employer plan, check with your plan administrator about your options. Also, if you have high prescription drug costs, make sure you compare your employer plan and Medicare Part D drug plans before leaving your employer plan.

Help with Medicare

Call  the Senior LinkAge Line for free individual help at 1-800-333-2433 or check out the retirement blog at  for specific Medicare tips and questions.


By Nancy Nonini with Retirement Education PLUS which provides retirement seminars for employers. Topics include Medicare, Social Security, estate planning, retirement financial planning, caregiving, long-term care and retirement life planning. Nancy can be reached at 612-751-4193 and visit online at


Tags: Medicare, working past 65, Medicare part B, health