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Can I Still Work After Enrolling in Medicare?

Different factors can affect how your employer coverage coordinates with Medicare. You may be wondering, “Can I still work after enrolling in Medicare?” Yes, you can still work after enrolling in Medicare. However, whether you must sign up for Medicare or not depends on your employer size. The rules surrounding Medicare and employer coverage can be overwhelming, so let’s break it down.

Large Employer

If you are actively working for a company with 20 or more employees and are covered under their insurance, you can delay all parts of Medicare without penalty. Your employer coverage would be your primary insurance, and Medicare would be your secondary. This means your employer coverage would pay first, and Medicare would pay second.

There is one thing to note about the cost of Part A. If you’ve worked in the United States for at least ten years (40 quarters) and have paid payroll taxes during that time, you will pay $0 for Part A. Most people meet this criterion, so they enroll in Part A anyway, even though it’s not required. If you qualify, you may consider doing the same to have extra inpatient coverage.

However, do not enroll in Part A if you plan on contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA). You can use the money you’ve put in an HSA to pay for Medicare deductibles, premiums, copays, and coinsurances. But you can’t pay for Medigap premiums with your HSA savings.

Small Employer

If you work for a company with less than 20 employees, you cannot delay all parts of Medicare past 65 without penalty. You will want to enroll in Part A and Part B when you are first eligible during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you don’t, you run the risk of being penalized. With a smaller employer, Medicare would be your primary insurance, and your employer coverage would be secondary.

Returning to Work After Enrolling in Medicare

You can also return to work after enrolling in Medicare. However, whether you will be working for a larger or smaller employer will impact your medical coverage. If the employer has 20 or more employees and you will be covered under their insurance, you can cancel Part B and enroll again later. You should qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when you decide to enroll again. During this period, you can re-enroll in Part B without penalty. Your SEP would start the date you stop working or lose active employer coverage, whichever comes first.

What about Part D?

You may be able to delay Part D as well. If you have creditable drug coverage through your employer, you can wait to enroll in Medicare Part D. This is true for large and small employers. If you’re unsure about whether your employer’s drug coverage is creditable or not, ask your employer. They should be able to verify whether their drug coverage is creditable or not.

Final Thoughts

If you’d like to continue working but want to be covered under Medicare rather than your employer coverage, that is fine as well. For example, if you’re paying $250 each month for your employer coverage premium, you may want to enroll in Part B instead because the Part B premium for 2022 is $170.10. However, everyone’s situation is different, so you’ll want to consider your own budget and needs.

The bottom line is, yes, you can continue working after enrolling in Medicare. However, the size of your employer and whether you’re covered by their insurance or not determines which parts of Medicare you’ll need to sign up for when the time comes.

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