In the spotlight: Medicare and Medigap deadlines

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Continued from Breaking into your second act.

Don’t miss the windows for Medicare and Medigap enrollment. It’ll cost you.

At age 64 and 9 months, you have a seven-month window to sign-up for Medicare. Miss it and you may have to pay higher premiums for life. If you or your spouse still have medical insurance provided by an employer, you can postpone enrolling until that coverage ends without having to pay higher premiums later. Medicare coverage can begin as early as the first day of the month in which you turn 65.

Medigap is Medicare supplemental insurance; it’s private insurance that covers some of the out-of-pocket copays and deductibles of Medicare. The six-month enrollment window for Medigap begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. During this enrollment window, you can’t be denied or charged extra because of poor health. Missing the deadline may mean higher premiums for life—or denied coverage.

Insurance and early retirement. Retiring before age 65 with no district post-employment health insurance benefits means you need private insurance. Steve Pike, Member Benefits Consultant, says, “This is the biggest obstacle to most early retirements. Some people continue to work part-time just to pay for health insurance.”

Options can include district-continued insurance (either district-paid or self-paid from retirement savings), coverage by a spouse’s insurance, Affordable Care Act insurance (premiums may be partially subsidized depending on your income), or purchasing other insurance using personal savings.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. Certain recommendations or guidelines may not be appropriate for everyone. Consult your personal advisor or attorney for advice specific to your unique circumstances before taking action.

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