Medicare can be confusing for any new beneficiary- and it is not uncommon for someone to assume that Medicare will be just like their Employee Health Plan was. As you may well know, an Employee Health Plan can include one or more family members, and all those members are working towards one deductible and one maximum out of pocket expense. It is very important to know that when it comes to Medicare, how it works is completely different.
Can I sign up for Medicare at the same time as my spouse?
Medicare eligibility is an individual process because your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is tied to your birthday. You have a seven-month window around your 65th birthday in which you can sign up for Medicare, it begins the three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birth month, and extends the three months past your birth month. Depending on age and IEP, one of you may be able to sign up before the other.
*Even if your birthdays happen to overlap and you share a sign up window, you may select the same type of plan, but you cannot enroll in the same plan. When it comes to Medicare, plans are individualized, there is no family plan.
Does Medicare Cover Younger Spouses?
Medicare does not cover younger spouses, unless they have a disability and have been receiving Social Security Disability Benefits for 24 months or until they turn age 65. There are a few options for your younger spouse to maintain health insurance, especially if they do not have their own job-based insurance:
1) You can continue working until your younger spouse meets Medicare requirements, and delay your Part B enrollment
2) You can enroll your spouse in your retiree insurance (if eligible), possibly delaying Part B
3) Your younger spouse can gain employment that offers job-based insurance
4) Your spouse can get a quote for an individual health plan
Should I enroll in the same type of Medicare Plan as my Spouse?
The reality is that some spouses may be better served by enrolling in different Medicare plans because of their diverse needs. There is a good chance you both are not seeing the same doctors, or taking the same medications, or have been diagnosed with the same medical conditions. In this case some plans or Supplements may offer benefits that would be a better fit for one spouse over another because of their individual needs and costs.
Medicare is unlike any insurance you have ever had. It is important that you find a plan that best suits your needs and your unique situation and this is where we can help. By taking into consideration your particular needs, we can help you research all plan options available to you in your area so you can make an informed decision for you. Give us a call today.