• Harry N. Stout

293- If I Retire at Age 62, Will I Be Eligible for Medicare at that Time?


Today’s post is excerpted from an article from the contributing organization Medicare Advantage Plans and their team of writers. You can find the full article on their website.


Medicare was established in 1965 in order to provide health coverage for seniors who would otherwise not be covered by employer-sponsored health insurance plans. If you retire at the age of 62, you may be eligible for retirement benefits through Social Security, but early retirement will not make you eligible for Medicare.


The typical Medicare age requirement is 65, or younger if you qualify for disability benefits. In addition to meeting the age requirement of 65, you must also be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident before you are eligible for Medicare.


Most people who are 65 qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A because they have worked for at least ten years (40 quarters) and have paid Medicare taxes. Medicare Part A helps cover hospitalization, skilled nursing facility, home health care and hospice costs. If you are not eligible for premium-free Part A because you have not worked and paid Medicare taxes but are a citizen with permanent residency and are 65, you can pay premiums to have Part A coverage. If your spouse has worked long enough to qualify for premium-free Part A, your Part A premiums will be free after your spouse turns 62.


When you meet the requirements for Part A, you also qualify for Medicare Part B which helps cover medical outpatient costs such as doctor’s visits, urgent care, durable medical equipment (DME), some preventive care, and more. If you have Part B, there is a monthly premium you pay and an annual deductible.


When you are 65 and qualify for Medicare coverage, you can choose Original Medicare Parts A and B, with or without Part D (drug coverage), and with or without supplemental insurance (Medigap); or you can choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) which bundles Parts A, B, and usually D together. You must have Parts A and B in order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, or a separate Part D or Medigap plan. Part B monthly premiums will still apply.


Can I Get Medicare Early If I Retire Early?

If you retire earlier than age 65, you will not be eligible for Medicare. Although Medicare is often thought of as insurance for retired people, the Medicare age requirement is still 65. Some people continue to work past age 65 and have insurance coverage through their employer. Many people retire before they turn 65 and must purchase health insurance or are covered on their spouse’s insurance plan. Although you may be eligible for social security retirement benefits if you retire early, it does not change your age requirement for Medicare health insurance coverage.


What are My Insurance Options if I Cannot Get Medicare at Age 62?

If you don’t qualify for Medicare, you may be able to get health insurance coverage through other options:

  • Employer-provided insurance

  • COBRA insurance

  • Health Insurance Marketplace coverage

  • Medicaid

If you are 62 and had employer-provided insurance, but are no longer employed, you may have access to insurance coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA requires most group health plans to provide a temporary extension (usually up to 18 months) of employer-provided group health coverage. COBRA is generally offered by private-sector employers (with at least 20 employees) or by state and local governments. If you elect to continue your health coverage under COBRA after your employment ends, you will likely pay a premium that is higher than the amount you paid while employed. Some states have laws that are similar to COBRA. Check with your employer and your state insurance commissioner’s office to find out if you are eligible for COBRA.


Another option for insurance at age 62 is to purchase private-sector insurance through the health insurance exchange in your state. You must live in the U.S. and be a citizen or legal resident to be eligible to enroll in health coverage through an exchange. The health insurance exchange offers a variety of plans which you can choose from, depending on your anticipated health care utilization and budget. There are typically Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) and more. You can compare and shop for plans for your state on Healthcare.gov.


You may be eligible for Medicaid health coverage which is based on your income. You can apply for Medicaid through the health insurance exchange, or through your state Medicaid agency.


Summary

Overall, if you retire at age 62 and elect to receive Social Security retirement benefits you will not qualify for Medicare coverage at that time and will need to look into other health insurance options. This needs to be a financial planning consideration for your household.

 

To learn more about Medicare and find in-depth guides and resources to help you make educated health care decisions, visit Medicare Advantage Plans.

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