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Coordinating Medicare with post retirement work benefits

Mar 30, 2012, 6 a.m.

One of the greatest things about turning 65 is being eligible for Medicare health plans. This program, which most of us have paid into for years, can save the average retiree hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in health care insurance premiums. However, if you're one of the increasing number of Americans who choose to work past age 65, whether to sign up for Medicare and which plans to sign up for can be confusing. You likely already have health care coverage with your job. Everyone's insurance coverage and health situation is different. However, below are a few guidelines on how to coordinate Medicare with your post-retirement work benefits:

  1. Sign up for Part A. Most people who have paid into the Medicare fund for more than 10 years don't pay a premium for Medicare Part A coverage, the plan that covers hospitalization, skilled nursing care and hospice, among other things. It makes sense to schedule an appointment with your company's benefits coordinator and discuss how Medicare works with your existing plan. In general, signing up for Medicare Part A will save you co-pays and deductibles if you should be hospitalized.
  2. Compare your monthly health care expense with the Medicare Part B cost. Medicare Part B is the insurance that covers doctors' visits, out-patient preventative services and medical supplies (not prescriptions.) If your current insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles average more than the cost of Medicare Part B (currently $115.40), then it might make sense to sign up for this Medicare coverage.
  3. Compare your monthly prescription costs with the Medicare Part D cost. Similarly, you should compare your current, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs with the monthly cost of Medicare Part D. This cost varies depending on the plan you select and the drugs covered.

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