I am struggling with the idea of applying for Medicare.


I am 67 and employed full time. I currently have BC/BS but they pay less and less. I am looking for someone who knows the system to help me make an advised decision. I just can find anyone who doesn't work for an insurance company!

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I attended our monthly caregiver meeting that set up for that day to have several guest speakers come in to talk about Medicare. They said that you must apply for Medicare within 3 months before and 3 months after your 65th birthday. They then explained why it was important to do so. And yes, by failing to apply within that critical time limit, you will pay more.

Just yesterday, I overheard someone telling his friend that he was told to apply for Medicare at age 65 even though he's still working and has insurance through work. What happens is that Medicare automatically becomes the primary insurance and his work insurance becomes secondary.

The best thing to do is find someone in your area to help you. Have you tried going to the Social Security office? They should be able to at least get you started by explaining it to you and giving you some tips for resources.

I think there is NO penalty because you are insured through your job!

Medicare part B is about $1200 a year and covers 80%. You should probably get a supplementary plan as well, but there are some with a zero premium. Have you looked at the website at Medicare.gov? It was helpful. Also through your local "area agency on aging" there is assistance through a program that is called "SHINE" in Massachusetts, to help you decide what's best for you.

Do a simple break-even analysis to determine how much extra Medicare premiums would cost you vs. what you're getting now.

Assuming you're getting BCBS through your employer, calculate (a) total annual premiums and (b) the amounts you're paying that are more across standardized categories (which is the difficult part), to get an annual history. You can do a simple percentage calculation to see how much more you're paying from year to year.

Also find out from Medicare how much your premiums would be if you applied for it now, next year, the following year, etc. What's the ratio of those premiums to the BCBS premiums? The difficult part would be factoring in what BCBS doesn't pay for, as well as what Medicare doesn't cover. So if that isn't feasible, just base your comparison on the premium costs.

You could get fancy and determine the breakeven point if you know how to do that, but if not, try to keep the analysis simple. How much more are you paying for BCBS each year, what's the percentage increase, and what are the percentage increases in Medicare premiums if you don't apply now?

Eg., if your BCBS premium and disallowed services are increasing at, say, a 20% rate each year, and if in, say, 2 years, they would equal or be close to equaling the Medicare premium in 2 years, then it's a fair assumption that you should apply for Medicare in 2 years.

Your HR department probably could help you with this kind of analysis.

Frequentflyer is totally correct about this.

You are supposed to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65 birthday. If you don't there will be a penalty placed for late enrollment and I think it is a permanent penalty. You probably will have a penalty placed as you missed the initial enrollment. You suspend Medicare as you have BSBS as your primary insurer. My hubs did this when he turned 65 as he is still working full time (and will till forever) and our insurance (family of 3) is with United.

What you probably want to think about is when you finally do retire to see if you can make your BCBS become your secondary with Medicare are your primary. the blues pay really really well & fast and most health systems take them, so your options are pretty good for getting docs and hospitals. If your a fed, the HIEB should transition pretty seamlessly from primary to secondary with the premiums taken from your retirement. My mom had this as my dad was a fed and between Medicare and BSBS had usually a zero co-pay.

There's a good article on the AARP website regarding this. The title is "Enrolling at the Right Time".

It's my understanding if one doesn't sign up for Medicare at 65, then the Medicare premiums would cost more. That had happened with my Mom who was 4 years older then my Dad, she was getting health insurance from the company that my Dad worked, so they decided to just keep on the company health insurance. They were surprised once Dad retired at 65, that my Mom's Medicare was costing much more then my Dad's.

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