Can It Be A Good Idea To Delay Enrollment In Either Social Security Or Medicare
It often pays to delay Social Security past full retirement age, because in doing so, you get to accrue credits that boost your benefits by 8 percent a year up until age 70. Therefore, if you dont need the income from those benefits right away, you could conceivably sign up for Medicare at 65 and then wait another five years before filing for Social Security.
There are also scenarios where it might pay to get on Social Security before enrolling in Medicare. If, for example, youre still working and have access to a heavily or fully subsidized health plan through your job, you may not have a need for Medicare. On the other hand, you might want your Social Security benefits to supplement your income, pay for travel, or help put your grandkids through college.
Remember, health coverage under Medicare doesnt necessarily come cheap. Between premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance, you might find that your out-of-pocket costs are substantially lower under a group health plan, in which case it pays to stick with it as long as you can.
Know Your Medicare Plan Options
Everyone has different health care needs. The best Medicare plan for you may look different from what works for others in your life. Having a cancer diagnosis adds an additional layer to consider. Before making any enrollment decisions, its important to do your research and understand how Medicare is structured.
The U.S. governments Medicare websiteoffers helpful information. Or you can call 1-800-MEDICARE. You can also get free guidance through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program . This federally funded counseling service offers objective support to help you understand your options. Call SHIP at 1-877-839-2675 or visit the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center website.
As you do your research, these are some of the Medicare plans you may encounter:
- Part A of original Medicare covers inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing care, hospice, and some home care services.
- Part B of original Medicare covers outpatient services such as doctors visits, physical and occupational therapy, preventive screenings, and some medical equipment and supplies.
- Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs.
- Part C or Medicare Advantage is an alternative coverage plan offered through federally approved private insurance companies. These plans are required to provide at least the same coverage as Parts A and B and in most cases, Part D. However, they may have different rules, costs, and coverage restrictions.
Who Is Eligible For Medicare
Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease . Medicare has two parts, Part A and Part B . You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:
- You are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
- You are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad benefits but you have not yet filed for them.
- You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.
To find out if you are eligible and your expected premium, go the Medicare.gov eligibility tool.
If you did not pay Medicare taxes while you worked, and you are age 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may be able to buy Part A. If you are under age 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:
- You have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
- You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.
While most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. This monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months.
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Use Obamacare For Early Retirement
Whether you love the program or hate it, for a few years, Obamacare did make early retirement health insurance costs much more affordable.
One of the ideas behind Obamacare was that everyone could get insurance preexisting conditions were not a factor. This was especially useful for people in their 50s and 60s most of whom have had or are facing some kind of health issue.
While you can still get coverage if you have a preexisting condition, Obamacare insurance has gotten a lot more expensive and the future of the program is in flux.
Many insurers have significantly raised premiums, in part because the Trump administration decided to stop payments to insurers that cover the discounts they are required to give to some low-income customers to cover out-of-pocket costs.
Nonetheless, if you are retiring early, it is still worth it to explore your Obamacare health coverage options on healthcare.gov.
How To Apply For Medicare When You Have Cancer
Caroline Edlund, LCSW-R, is the Online Support Group Program Director at CancerCare. She provides supportive counseling and resources to people coping with cancer and people who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
Enrolling in Medicare can seem like a daunting process, especially if you have cancerso much so that you may be tempted to put off the application or even give up on it entirely. However, this can lead to serious long-term consequences that affect your cancer care coverage and finances.
With a little patience and preparation, you can successfully navigate the Medicare enrollment process. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
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Reaching Age 62 Can Affect Your Spouse’s Medicare Premiums
Although reaching age 62 does not qualify you for Medicare, it can carry some significance for your spouse if they receive Medicare benefits.
When one spouse in a couple turns 62 years old, the other spouse who is at least 65 years old may now qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A if they havent yet qualified based on their own work history.
- For example, Gerald is 65 years old, but he doesnt qualify for premium-free Part A because he did not work the minimum number of years required for eligibility. He can still receive Medicare Part A, but he will have to pay a monthly premium for it. In 2020, the Medicare Part A premium can be as high as $458 per month.
- Lets say Geralds wife, Jessica, reaches age 62 and has worked for the required number of years to qualify for premium-free Part A once she turns 65. Because Jessica is now 62 years old and has met the working requirement, Gerald may now receive premium-free Part A.
In the above example, Jessica has not become eligible for Medicare by turning 62. Her husband Gerald, however, is now eligible to receive his Medicare Part A benefits without paying a monthly premium any longer.
Make Your Decisions Independently
Collecting Social Security is by no means a prerequisite to getting Medicare. In fact, its often advisable to sign up for Medicare as soon as youre eligible but wait on Social Security to avoid a reduction in benefits, or boost them as much as possible.
The only downside to signing up for Medicare alone is having to make your premium payments directly, as opposed to having them deducted from your Social Security benefits, but its a small price to pay for the upside of a higher lifetime income stream.
Maurie Backman has been writing professionally for well over a decade, and her coverage area runs the gamut from healthcare to personal finance to career advice. Much of her writing these days revolves around retirement and its various components and challenges, including healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, and money management.
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Do I Receive A Notice About Medicare When I Turn 65
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will get information about Medicare in the mail three months before you turn 65. If you do not receive Social Security benefits, you must actively enroll in Medicare yourself by contacting your local Social Security office. You will not receive a notification in the mail informing you that you qualify for Medicare
Reason #: Retire Early If You Dont Need To Start Social Security Collecting Early
The earliest you can start Social Security benefits is age 62. However, just because you can start benefits does not mean that you should.
Your monthly Social Security paycheck increases significantly for every month and year you delay starting, up until your full retirement age . Depending on your work history, waiting to start Social Security can mean something like $100,000 or more in additional money over your lifetime.
So, if you are planning on an early retirement, it is best to do so without starting Social Security.
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What Happens If You Dont Sign Up For Medicare
Its always your choice whether you sign up for Medicare, but you should understand the consequences of not signing up for this health insurance, including:
- Youll pay the full amount for all medical care unless you have private health insurance
- You may face delays getting Medicare coverage in future
- Youll face penalties if you change your mind and sign up for Medicare later
Automatic enrollment for Social Security beneficiaries makes getting Medicare easy. While you always have a choice about which Medicare plans you keep, consider their benefits now and in the future before making any decisions about your insurance-based coverage.
Zia Sherrell is a digital health journalist with over a decade of healthcare experience, a bachelors degree in science from the University of Leeds and a masters degree in public health from the University of Manchester. Her work has appeared in Netdoctor, Medical News Today, Healthline, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health and more.
When shes not typing madly, Zia enjoys traveling and chasing after her dogs.
The Downside Of Claiming Early: Reduced Benefits
Consider the following hypothetical example. Colleen is 62 as of 2022. If Colleen waits until age 67 to collect, she will receive approximately $2,000 a month. However, if she begins taking benefits at age 62, she’ll receive only $1,400 a month. This “early retirement” penalty is permanent and results in her receiving up to 30% less year after year.
However, if Colleen waits until age 70, her monthly benefits will increase another 24% over what she would receive at her FRA, to a total of $2,480 per month.1 If she were to live to age 89, her lifetime benefits would be about $112,000 more, or at least 24% greater, because she waited until age 70 to collect Social Security benefits.2
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When Should You Start Collecting Social Security Benefits
To determine when you should start taking your benefits, its important to understand how much your check is affected by when you claim your benefit. As mentioned before, you can claim your benefit as early as age 62, but reaching full retirement age can secure your full benefit.
So when exactly is full retirement age? That depends on when you were born.
|Year of birth|
|65 + 2 months for each year past 1937|
|66 + 2 months for each year past 1954|
|1960 and later||67|
While the full retirement age used to be 65, changes to the program have increased that age. For example, those born in 1955 now have to wait an extra two months beyond age 66 to claim their full benefit. Someone born in 1959, for example, would have to wait until age 66 and 10 months to get the full benefit. Anyone born in 1960 or later, receives their full benefit at 67.
But some retirees choose to wait even longer. You may wait until as late as age 70 to claim your benefit, but then you must take it. Youll receive a bigger check for doing so.
So what is the upside to delaying your Social Security benefit after age 62? Your check wont get hit by a serious benefit reduction. Heres how much a $1,000 monthly check will become if you claim your benefit as soon as youre eligible at age 62.
|Year of birth||If you file at 62, benefit reduced by:||A $1,000 check becomes|
Can You Get Medicare At Age 62
Some retirees begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 and assume that they can also apply for Medicare. However, Medicare isnt available to most people until they turn age 65. Again, although this is the general rule, there are some exceptions, and certain people can apply and qualify for Medicare at age 62.
A second scenario is if a person receives a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board and meets other specific criteria. Additionally, if a person has ESRD or ALS, they may get Medicare at 62.
However, if you do not meet these specific requirements, you will have to wait until age 65 to receive your Medicare benefits. The good news is you can begin signing up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
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Reason #: Retire Early If Youve Really Thought It Through
Early retirement isnt something to enter into lightly. You might have your finances in order, but you also need a solid understanding of how your life will change. For example, it can be more stressful than you imagine, spending every hour of every day with your spouse, especially if youve only spent a few hours together daily in the past.
For someone who is accustomed to going to work Monday through Friday, the sudden change of having no schedule and everything that accompanies it can be difficult to deal with. If this is you, perhaps you might want to try a sabbatical instead of an early retirement.
However, if youve already done your homework and are just waiting for 62 to arrive, then theres nothing holding you back.
Social Security Benefits And Retiring At Age 62
If youre considering retiring at 62, its likely that Social Security is one of your primary concerns. Thats because 62 is the first year youre eligible to receive Social Security benefits, but your benefit will be lower than if youd waited longer to start receiving those benefits.
Normally, youd need to reach your full retirement age, which for most people is 66 or 67, to qualify for the full monthly benefit amount. And to get the largest possible benefit youd need to wait until age 70. Taking benefits at age 62, or at any time between 62 and your full retirement age would reduce your benefit amount.
The amount of the reduction depends on the year you were born. For example, if you were born in 1960 or later, taking Social Security benefits at age 62 would reduce your monthly benefit by 30%. If youre married and spousal benefits are also being paid, those benefits would be reduced by 35%. So for example, if youre anticipating a $1,000 monthly Social Security payment and your spouse is expecting $500, your benefits would be reduced to $700 and $325, respectively. This Social Security calculator can tell you what you can expect to receive, based on your age and when you begin taking benefits.
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Reason #: Retire At 62 If You Know What Else You Want To Do
Do you have a dream that youve always wanted to pursue, but never had the time? Maybe you want to write a novel. Have you toyed with the idea of joining the community theater? Or perhaps youve always wanted to grow your own food on a farm. Maybe you want to raise sheep, harvest the wool, and open a yarn shop.
If you have a real goal and you know youre passionate about it, youve got a good if not GREAT reason to retire early.
They say that no one ever reached very old age regretting the things that they did. Whats regretted are the things not tried, the chances not taken, the dreams left dusty and neglected on a shelf. If you are able, retiring at 62 can give you many years to seek out that dream and really enjoy it.
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Our reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most how to save for retirement, understanding the types of accounts, how to choose investments and more so you can feel confident when planning for your future.
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What Are My Insurance Options If I Cannot Get Medicare At Age 62
If you dont qualify for Medicare, you may be able to get health insurance coverage through other options:
- Employer-provided insurance
- Health Insurance Marketplace coverage
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 requires most group health plans to provide a temporary extension of employer-provided group health coverage. COBRA is generally offered by private-sector employers 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 commissioners office to find out if you are eligible for COBRA.
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.
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