Life is expensive. Bills add up quickly; cable, subscription services, gas, phones, gym memberships, and handfuls (and handfuls) of others. Because of this, many Americans are working past the age of 65, bumping their retirement age back further and further to afford the ever-increasing cost of living.

If you are still working at age 65, here are a few things you need to know about signing up for Medicare.

  1. Company Size Matters. If your company has less than 20 employees, you will need to sign up for Medicare when you become eligible. Otherwise, you will be stuck with your group plan which can refuse claims. Plus, when you fail to sign up during the enrollment window, you will be faced with late penalties. If you work for a large company, you can still opt for Medicare benefits, but be sure to compare plans, coverage and costs. Should you opt to stick with employer’s insurance, you will have the option to sign up for Medicare later, during a special enrollment period once you leave your job. During this time, there is no late penalty.
  2. COBRA Comes Second. If you have COBRA health benefits after you leave your job, these will last up to 18 months. be sure to sign up for Medicare as soon as you are eligible. Just don’t wait until your COBRA coverage ends to sign up for Medicare. If you delay enrolling in Original Medicare after your Special Enrollment Period ends, you’ll have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period (January 1 to March 31 every year) to enroll. Plus, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
  3. Retiree Benefits Also Come Second. Certain employers offer retiree health benefits, but these only last a certain amount of time and therefore you should sign up for Medicare when you become eligible.

Starting the day you leave your job, you will have 8 months to sign up for Medicare to avoid penalties. If you miss your special enrollment period, you won’t be able to enroll in Medicare until the next General Enrollment Period. Make sure you don’t miss your window of time to enroll.

If you need help finding the right plan for you, before or after retirement, contact us today. We can help you compare hundreds of plans and find the right one for you.