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A blog about Medicare. What you and your employees need to know

Celebrate –

65 Candles in 2022? Groovy!

Author: Lora Drummond

Medicare Transition Specialist

Posted: 12/13/2021

#49- 52 Celebrate – 65 Candles in 2022?

If you are planning to celebrate a Groovy Birthday next year, you’ll be joining celebrities like Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Vanna White, Ray Romano, and one of my old heartthrobs Donny Osmond who are all turning 65 too!

My neighbor is celebrating his milestone in April too. He is turning 65 but has no plans of retiring any time soon. He loves his job! He is a longtime caregiver to a senior who is wheelchair-bound and they have become like family. He is fortunate to work for an employer who is offering benefits to employees who want to continue to work past 65 so his milestone won’t involve many changes for him. Except for maybe a disco ball for the party, and a bigger cake for all those candles this year.

Steve mentioned that his senior client Marshall remarked on how wonderful it was that Steve could now enroll in Medicare because it pays for almost ‘everything’. Knowing I work for a company that specializes in Medicare, Steve asked if he was required to enroll in Medicare as soon as he was eligible since it seemed like a confusing change to navigate, and it was easier to just stay on his employer’s plan.

Medicare or Group Plan?

I was glad he asked because having his group plan is a wonderful option but is it the most appropriate choice for him? Group plans are created for, well…. groups of employees. People can enroll in Medicare based on more options as individuals. Sometimes Medicare can make better sense with costs and benefit options too. The best thing to do is to compare what his benefits look like with his employer’s plan versus what Medicare options exist. And is his group plan creditiable – so he can defer Medicare until he does retire.

I asked him if he consulted with his employer’s benefits team. He said they have a human resources department and a third-party administrator. Both offered to talk to him, but neither had a simple resource to consult on comparing costs. Both contacts seemed hesitant to offer advice and he was worried about making a change and incurring penalties so staying on the employer plan was just easier.

Common Questions 

I am glad talking about his birthday created a comfortable opportunity to bring up Medicare too. Here are some of his questions and ironically these are some common questions that come up with the employers we work with:

  1. Is there a penalty if I stay on my employer’s plan and defer Medicare?
  2. Can I keep contributing to my HSA if I leave my group and go to Medicare?
  3. Should I keep my group plan and add Medicare?
  4. How much would Medicare cover and cost compared to my current group plan?
  5. Which parts of Medicare will replace my current group plan?

Securing a Medicare Transition Team

Having a transition team creates a confident environment for having Medicare conversations with employees who seek your guidance. When questions come up, what you cannot answer can be immediately supported by a dedicated Medicare expert.

More details might be necessary to provide answers to questions that come up, but here are some general responses to those questions Steve asked:

  1. As long as Steve’s company employs more than 20 employees and his medical coverage is creditable, he is not required to enroll in Medicare when he turns 65. There is no penalty to enroll when he leaves his employer and enrolls later.
  2. If Steve moves to any part of Medicare, he can no longer contribute to an HSA plan.
  3. Generally, the Medicare plan can replace a group plan at a lower cost so also keeping the group plan too is not necessary.
  4. Our Stay or Go Analysis™ takes 3 simple questions and 3 minutes of time to compare group and Medicare plans to tell mathematically whether to stay on a group plan or go to Medicare.
  5. There are many options to consider for coverage under Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are sometimes called all-in-one plans and most now include dental, vision, and transportation to medical appointments. The choice depends on the insurance carrier, costs, your personal lifestyle, and health needs, and the options you want to include for coverage.

Tools and Education

First, I recommended Steve attend a Medicare educational workshop. Having more education on what Medicare is and his choices, so he could understand and make confident decisions. I sent him the link for 123Easy Medicare to register for a free workshop designed only to teach about Medicare without any sales pitches.

Steve and I visited clickTMA.com to use the Stay or Go Analysisto do the comparison he wanted. He was able to answer 3 questions about his current group plan and saw he could save money by moving to a Medicare plan when turning 65. His response was, “I can’t believe we got all of this information in just a few minutes. Why does Medicare look so confusing on other sites? This was so easy!”

A Medicare transition team can provide expert advice and ask appropriate questions to help people with Medicare decisions. What is right for one person is not always right for someone else. Certified Medicare Planners®  are fiduciaries who put clients’ needs first. They have tools and technology to guide people without insurance carrier bias and will recommend moving to Medicare only if it makes sense.

Now Steve knows his options and can contact The Medicare Architects to help him plan his transition. We like to see folks 6-9 months before they are eligible to enroll. Today he just wants to borrow my turntable to play some of his old albums to plan for his big party. He is looking forward to celebrating his birthday milestone!

Have employees who are not sure what to do? You can refer them to us. We will have a Certified Medicare Planner® guide them based on fact-based information to an appropriate transition plan to help them make decisions suited to their needs and goals.

An aging workforce can benefit from having ready access to partners trained to guide with Medicare so that open discussions can help them. Why not add this partnership to your team?

Consider working with a team of Certified Medicare Planners ® to guide Medicare discussions with your employees.

With our partnership, you support these opportunities:

  • Save them from paying for more coverage than they need,
  • Avoid Medicare pitfalls later when they are making an exit plan,
  • Readies employees to transition to Medicare when it’s appropriate for them, and
  • Creates a non-bias, carrier-agnostic relationship for providing expert support of ALL the Medicare plans in an area.

Best of all… our services are free to you and your employees.

Call us to learn more about how we are helping other companies.

 

Our Certified Medicare Planners® have more than 20 years of experience helping employees create Medicare transition plans BEFORE they need to enroll. We are ready to help!

Continuing to support your employees with Medicare guidance

in 2022.

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Your Medicare Transition Partner
– Lora

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