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When to sign up for Medicare
Old 09-29-2014, 06:34 PM   #1
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When to sign up for Medicare

I plan to retire in March 2015 I will be 63 and DW wife is 67. She is collecting SS so she is signed up for Medicare but is currently under my health insurance at work. In March I will switch to COBRA or a plan under the ACA until I am eligible for SS. My question is when should DW sign up for Medicare?
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:43 PM   #2
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If she is on cobra for more than five months she will pay higher medicare premiums for the rest of her life. I am in a similar situation, retiring at year end, under 65, and DW is medicare eligible. She is signing up for Medicare to begin in January.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:59 PM   #3
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If she is on cobra for more than five months she will pay higher medicare premiums for the rest of her life.

Is that true if the COBRA coverage is complete enough that it's "creditable coverage"? I'd though you just needed to prove that you were covered by any plan that met the requirements prior to filing for Medicare. I have to admit, though, that I found obtaining health insurance to be the most stressful part of ER and I still don't understand all the nuances.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bigfish View Post
I plan to retire in March 2015 I will be 63 and DW wife is 67. She is collecting SS so she is signed up for Medicare but is currently under my health insurance at work. In March I will switch to COBRA or a plan under the ACA until I am eligible for SS. My question is when should DW sign up for Medicare?
I assume you are asking about Medicare Part B, since it sounds like she is already signed up for Part A.

Better check with your employer. It's likely that your COBRA plan won't cover her if she is on Medicare. In fact, I am surprised that your current plan is covering her expenses that are covered by Medicare. My guess is that it is covering the expenses that Medicare isn't covering, in which case signing up for Part B and a Supplimental policy should be much cheaper than COBRA.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:49 PM   #5
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My DH was under my employer's plan after he retired at age 68 but he had Medicare Part A which was automatically begun with his late collection of SS at 68. Then I left my job and went on COBRA.

It will take at least 1 month if not more to get onto Medicare Part B so he was on my COBRA for some time until his Part B plan kicked in. In all he was on my COBRA for a number of months. Because I had Federal BCBS at the time that was primary and Medicare was secondary. It was hard to explain this to billing departments of doctors' offices and the hospital but it worked out in the end.

Because he retired late and did not claim his SS/Medicare until he retired he was not made to pay the premium penalty. My salary however still places us in the higher bracket so that we are paying more for All Medicare parts until I retire and make less.


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Old 10-10-2014, 07:29 AM   #6
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My DH was under my employer's plan after he retired at age 68 but he had Medicare Part A which was automatically begun with his late collection of SS at 68. Then I left my job and went on COBRA.

It will take at least 1 month if not more to get onto Medicare Part B so he was on my COBRA for some time until his Part B plan kicked in. In all he was on my COBRA for a number of months. Because I had Federal BCBS at the time that was primary and Medicare was secondary. It was hard to explain this to billing departments of doctors' offices and the hospital but it worked out in the end.
We were in a similar situation- DH was on my employer's policy till early this year. I retired at age 61; he was 75. We had employer coverage through my last day (5/9) and he was on COBRA 5/9 to 6/1. He managed to get Medicare A and B as of 6/1 and there was no penalty because he could prove he'd had "creditable coverage" in place continuously since he turned 65. The insurance agent didn't get the application for the Medicare supplement completed on time so that didn't kick in till 7/1, which cost us a few hundred out of pocket since DH needed an MRI of his back and we wanted to get it don't before we left on vacation 7/1 to make sure he was OK to travel. (He was.)

One annoying development: initially Medicare B rejected DH's claims because they said he had primary coverage through my employer. Apparently that got into their computers at some point and they didn't know it had ended. DH had to call SS, straighten that out, and get the providers to re-submit the bills.
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Old 10-10-2014, 07:53 AM   #7
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I was under the impression that all corp health plans became secondary to medicare when the employee or their spouse turned 65; at least that is how my company plan worked.
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #8
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I was under the impression that all corp health plans became secondary to medicare when the employee or their spouse turned 65; at least that is how my company plan worked.
It must depend on the company. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised, too. DH and I married when he was 64 and relocated shortly thereafter for my job. I added him to my employer's policy (a GE sub at the time) and they never required us to file with Medicare first after he turned 65. The company was acquired and the new company carried him. I changed jobs in 2012 and again was able to insure him on my employer's policy. So, Medicare never had to pay a dime till this year.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:18 AM   #9
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It must depend on the company. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised, too. DH and I married when he was 64 and relocated shortly thereafter for my job. I added him to my employer's policy (a GE sub at the time) and they never required us to file with Medicare first after he turned 65. The company was acquired and the new company carried him. I changed jobs in 2012 and again was able to insure him on my employer's policy. So, Medicare never had to pay a dime till this year.
Thanks, I found a link that explains this in detail:
Medicare Interactive - Medicare can be primary or secondary to employer insurance
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:40 PM   #10
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My husband has part A and is on my employer insurance now, but I am retiring at 62 in Feb, just got him signed up for part B and advantage plan starting in January, so will take him off for those two months.....now I have to figure out the cost differences between me staying on COBRA for a while or finding new, but really good, insurance (cancer survivor). This Medicare stuff is really difficult!
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