Medicare is a federal insurance program that provides health care insurance to people of age 65 and above and those with disabilities. However, it is not mandatory to have Medicare — but it can be automatically provided through Social Security in some situations.
You may also have valid reasons to want to delay enrolling in Medicare. If you’re still working when on your 65th birthday and have qualifying health insurance (like employer insurance), you may decide to delay enrolling in a Medicare plan. In this blog, we’ll discuss the various Medicare coverage options.
Is Paying for Part A Mandatory?
If you worked and paid payroll taxes for at least 40 quarters (10 years), you will qualify for premium-free Part A coverage. Most Medicare beneficiaries qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A and will automatically be enrolled in the plan. Keep in mind, though, that signing up for Part A doesn’t have to stop you from receiving existing health coverage. Medicare Part A works with other types of insurance, such as VA insurance, employer coverage, and Tricare. If you have qualifying health insurance provided by your employer, you can have the coordination of health benefits to cover your health care costs.
In fact, we highly recommend that you still enroll in Medicare Part A even if you have these other types of coverage. Since it’s free for most people and you can be automatically enrolled, being in this plan will be more beneficial to you than not being in it. It’ll also give you a step into Medicare and learn more about your coverage.
Is Medicare Part B Mandatory?
Enrolling in Medicare Part B is optional, but most Medicare beneficiaries that enroll in Part A also choose to sign up for Part B as well. You do have the option to delay signing up for Part B. However, you need to consider the timing of when you are ready to sign up so as to avoid paying late enrollment fees. The best time to sign up is during your Initial Enrollment Period.
There is a late enrollment penalty for signing up late for Medicare Part B unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you have creditable coverage through an employer. There are also other reasons people may need to delay Part B, so it is vital to learn about your choices so you can make the right decision.
Are Other Parts of Medicare Mandatory?
Medicare Part C and Part D are parts of Medicare that are administered by private health insurance companies. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans provide all the same benefits as Original Medicare. In fact, some MA plans may provide extra benefits not covered by Original Medicare.
Medicare Part D plans offer coverage for prescription drugs, which are not covered by Original Medicare. While enrolling in these plans is not mandatory, it’s wise to enroll in Part D as soon as you’re eligible — especially if you need coverage for prescriptions and to avoid paying late enrollment penalties.
Medicare Supplements, which supplement Original Medicare, are also not mandatory, but can certainly provide much-needed coverage if you find yourself struggling to pay some of the out-of-pocket costs left behind by Medicare.
Get the Health Care Coverage You Need
Overall, the parts of Medicare are not all mandatory, but determining what type of coverage you need and enrolling as soon as you’re eligible to avoid penalties can play big factors in your coverage decisions.
Are you looking to speak with a licensed, qualified Medicare expert? If so, we can help you answer difficult health insurance questions. So contact Temmen Insurance to speak with a broker about your medical needs.