A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know
A Success Story-Did We Mess Up?
Author: Lora Drummond
Medicare Transition Specialist
This week I want to share a success story based on a meeting one of our Certified Medicare Planners™ had with a couple recently. Remember, if you are working past age 65, and have creditable coverage you can stay on your group plan with no penalties moving to Medicare later.
Meet Dave and Diane
Dave and Diane had met with us a few years ago. They were both age 65 and decided to keep working and maintain their employer plans for healthcare, and not sign up for Medicare. We confirmed for them that was OK as long as their employer’s health plan was “Creditable Coverage” and there are at least 20 employees on the plan. They both worked for large organizations and stated that meeting those requirements wasn’t an issue. They also had a son at college that was 25 years old and they wanted to maintain his health coverage through their employer until he turned 26 and would be on his own.
Moving ahead 3 years to the current year, Dave and Diane are now both age 68, still working, and called for a meeting to discuss Medicare…again. Not a problem! We meet with folks multiple times to make sure they are educated about their health coverage options before they make a decision.
Did we mess up?
Dave and Diane arrived at the meeting anxiously. Both were very concerned. Their friends and their Employer’s HR staff insisted that they had messed up big time and were going to pay a large penalty because THEY FAILED TO SIGN UP for Medicare A & B when they turned 65. Their friends confidently showed them their Medicare cards stating, “We did it correctly and you didn’t.” Even the HR staff raised concerns and directed them to head over to their local Social Security office as soon as possible to sign up!
“You told us we didn’t have to when we met last time. Why are all these people telling us we messed up?”
I smiled and calmly explained that although friends and the HR staff were trying to help by telling them how Medicare works, they simply were not “licensed and certified to discuss Medicare?” Certified Medicare Planners™ are qualified to help. HR departments are not trained to support Medicare questions and often provide outdated information or have no idea what current rules and regulations are in place, and simply refer inquiring employees to the Medicare.gov site to research answers there.
Ok to Postpone Enrollment
I reminded them of these factors that made it ok to postpone their enrollment:
- As long as they were both still working,
- Their employer health plan had 20+ employees on the plan,
- Their employer’s plan coverage was “Creditable” (meaning “as good as Medicare”),
- And the employer health plan included prescription drug coverage, they did not have to sign up for Medicare Part A, Part B, or Part D.
About 5-6 months before planning to retire, Dave and Diane will return so we can review all their current health plan needs and objectives and to assist with initiating the correct forms to prepare to sign up for Medicare. We strive in creating a comfortable glide path into retirement.
Dave and Diane were very relieved and thanked us for reassuring them they had not “Messed Up”!
Want to avoid all the Medicare hassles? Consider partnering with a Medicare Transition Team. Maybe one with Certified Medicare Planners™ to help your employees. Certified Medicare Planners™ are trained to provide the tools and technology your employees need to confidently transition to Medicare with no penalties or reduction in options.
Having a Medicare transition team creates confidence in your ability to compliantly educate and transition eligible employees to Medicare while reducing costs for your employees and boosting your bottom line.
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