Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Most Popular

Viewed

share your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Ask Ms. Medicare

Medicare When Working Beyond 65

Do you need to enroll in Part B if you have health insurance from an employer?

What if I have a health savings account at work?

You need to be careful if your employer insurance takes the form of a high-deductible plan with a health savings account. Under IRS rules, you cannot continue to contribute to an HSA if you are enrolled in Medicare (even Part A) or, after age 65, you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits. You can draw on funds already in your account, but you cannot add to them. For details, see "Can I Have a Health Savings Account as Well as Medicare?"

You'll be able to sign up for Part A without risking a late penalty during the same special enrollment period when you enroll in Part B, after you finally stop working.

If you are married to somebody who has an HSA at work, and you are covered by that plan, it doesn't make any difference whether you are enrolled in Medicare or not — you can still use the HSA for your medical needs. The IRS rule applies only to the working employee who is contributing to the plan.

Will I need Part D prescription drug coverage?

Probably not. If your employer plan offers prescription drug coverage that is "creditable" — meaning that Medicare considers it at least of equal value to Part D coverage — you don't need to enroll in a Part D drug plan at age 65. Instead, when your employer coverage ceases, you'll be entitled to a two-month special enrollment period to sign up with a Part D plan without penalty. Your employer plan can tell you whether it's creditable or not. If it's not, you would need to enroll in Part D during your initial enrollment period at age 65 to avoid late penalties if and when you eventually signed up.

What if my employer offers me COBRA or retiree health benefits?

It's confusing, but different rules apply to Part B and Part D in either of these situations:

Part B: You can delay Part B enrollment without penalty only while you or your spouse is still actively working for the employer that provides your health insurance. But if you receive COBRA benefits — a temporary extension of your employer coverage that usually lasts 18 months — or retiree benefits, by definition you are no long working for this employer. So if you wait until these benefits have expired before enrolling in Part B, you won't qualify for a special enrollment period. Instead, you'd likely pay late penalties, and you would be able to enroll only during the general enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1 to March 31 each year, with coverage not beginning until the following July 1.

Part D: As long as your COBRA or retiree drug coverage is creditable, you do not need to enroll in Part D until these benefits end, as explained above.

Patricia Barry is a senior editor for AARP Integrated Media and the author of “Medicare For Dummies” (Wiley/AARP, October 2013)

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points