Wednesday March 20, 2019

What to Do About Medicare If You Are Still Working in 2019

If you do plan to work after you reach retirement age, here’s what you should know about your Medicare coverage.

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Nurse
If you don’t have Medicare, your group plan isn’t obligated to pay anything toward your medical expenses.

These days, more seniors are continuing to work well past 65, the age of Medicare eligibility. With longer life expectancies and jobs that are less physically demanding today, you might even be planning to work well in your 70’s. If you do plan to work after you reach retirement age, here’s what you should know about your Medicare coverage.

Do I have to sign up for Medicare?

The answer depends on the size of your employer. There are laws in place prohibiting larger employers (those with at least 20 employees) from offering older employees different health benefits than those they offer everyone else. In other words, it’s your choice, not your employer’s, whether to continue with your employer coverage or enroll in Medicare.

C-section, Robots
There are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure. Flickr

If you work for a small employer with fewer than 20 employees, the employer decides whether to discontinue your group health coverage once you become eligible for Medicare. If your company’s policy is to make Medicare the primary insurer for employees age 65 and over, you must enroll in both parts of Original Medicare or face several unpleasant and costly consequences.

First, even if your employer allows you to stay on the group health plan after age 65, your group plan becomes the secondary insurer. That means that it will only pay after Medicare, the primary insurer, pays its share. If you don’t have Medicare, your group plan isn’t obligated to pay anything toward your medical expenses.

medicare
These days, more seniors are continuing to work well past 65, the age of Medicare eligibility.

Second, if you don’t enroll in Medicare, and your group plan is secondary, you technically do not have health insurance for purposes of Medicare’s late enrollment penalty. In other words, when you do enroll in Medicare, you’ll pay a penalty based on the number of months you went without insurance coverage when you could have enrolled in Medicare—and you’ll pay that penalty for as long as you have coverage.

If you work for a larger employer and you have the choice between Medicare and your group plan, it’s a good idea to compare premiums, deductibles, and coverage, and determine which option makes most sense financially. Most people, however, do decide to keep their Part A as soon as they become eligible, since most people qualify for premium-free Part A.

What about Part D coverage for prescription drugs?

Although Part D is considered optional, the law requires you to have “creditable” prescription drug coverage if you choose to forgo Part D. If you don’t, and you go without prescription drug coverage for 63 or more consecutive days, you’ll pay a late enrollment penalty with your Part D premium.

Medicare
It’s your choice, not your employer’s, whether to continue with your employer coverage or enroll in Medicare.

Most employer plans have coverage that is equal to or better than Part D, which is considered “creditable” for purposes of the law. Your insurance company is required to send you a letter letting you know whether your coverage satisfies Medicare’s requirements. If it doesn’t, you should enroll in Part D as soon as you become eligible. If it does, be sure to keep proof of creditable coverage in a safe place in case you are hit with a late enrollment penalty when you do enroll.

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What if I want a Medicare Supplement Plan?

If you do delay Medicare enrollment because you are still working after age 65, you will still have guaranteed issue rights for Medigap when your employer coverage ends.

Note that if you use COBRA to continue your employer coverage after you leave your job, it does not count as insurance coverage from active employment for the purposes of avoiding late enrollment penalties with Medicare. COBRA also doesn’t protect your guaranteed issue rights for Medigap. Your open enrollment period for Medigap begins on the date you leave your employment or the date that your employer coverage ends.

Next Story

Amazing Fact! Your Genes Determine Your Quality of Sleep

"Our study suggests that many of the genes important for sleep in animal models may also influence sleep in humans and opens the door to better understanding of the function and regulation of sleep," Dashti added.

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This was comparable to other well-recognised factors that influenced sleep duration. Pixabay

Experiencing problems like insomnia or hypersomnia could be genetic, say researchers who identified 76 new gene regions associated with the time a person sleeps.

It is well known that regularly getting adequate sleep — 7 to 8 hours per night — is important for health, and both insufficient sleep — 6 or fewer hours — and excessive sleep — 9 hours or more — have been linked to significant health problems.

Family studies have suggested that 10 to 40 per cent of variation in sleep duration may be inherited, and previous genetic studies have associated variants in two gene regions with the sleep duration.

sleep
“Our study suggests that many of the genes important for sleep in animal models may also influence sleep in humans and opens the door to better understanding of the function and regulation of sleep,” Dashti added. Pixabay

The study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, US, analysed genetic data from more than 446,000 participants, who self-reported the amount of sleep they typically received.

The study identified 78 gene regions — including the two previously identified — as associated with sleep duration.

While carrying a single gene variant influenced the average amount of sleep by only a minute, participants carrying the largest number of duration-increasing variants reported an average of 22 more minutes of sleep, compared with those with the fewest.

This was comparable to other well-recognised factors that influenced sleep duration.

 

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Family studies have suggested that 10 to 40 per cent of variation in sleep duration may be inherited, and previous genetic studies have associated variants in two gene regions with the sleep duration. Pixabay

“While we spend about a third of our life asleep, we have little knowledge of the specific genes and pathways that regulate the amount of sleep people get,” said Hassan Saeed Dashti from MGH.

“Our study suggests that many of the genes important for sleep in animal models may also influence sleep in humans and opens the door to better understanding of the function and regulation of sleep,” Dashti added.

The study, published in Nature Communications journal, also found shared genetic links between both short and long sleep duration.

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It also found factors such as higher levels of body fat, depression symptoms and fewer years of schooling, implying negative effects from both too little and too much sleep.

While short sleep duration was genetically linked with insomnia and smoking, long sleep duration was linked with ailments such as schizophrenia, Type-2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. (IANS)