Author: Tej Seelamsetty
You're typically eligible for Medicare at 65. But what if you retire before 65 — like at 62?
You probably have some questions.
Will my Medicare start if I retire at 62?
What will I do if I don't have social security benefits?
How will I cover my health care expenses when I retire at 62?
Fair Square Medicare is here to help you get answers to these and other questions.
Your Medicare begins when you turn 65. But sometimes you can get benefits before you're 65.
Let's talk about some different scenarios.
If you're receiving Social Security disability benefits, your Medicare will automatically start the 25th month after receiving your benefits.
Similarly, if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), have undergone a kidney transplant, or need continuous dialysis, you might be eligible for Medicare before you turn 65 and be able to get benefits immediately.
Also, if you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease), you'll be enrolled to receive Medicare as soon as your disability benefits begin.
Your Medicare part A premium is based on the number of years you or your spouse have worked and paid Medicare taxes.
If you've paid into Medicare while working for at least 10 years, your Medicare Part A will be free—you don't need to pay a premium.
But, if you've worked for less than 10 years, you might have to pay a premium.
However, if you're 62 and have been working for more than 10 years, your spouse (age 65) may be able to use your work history to their benefit (or vice versa).
So, if your spouse is 65 and has either not been in the workforce or has worked for less than 10 years, they may be eligible for a premium-free Medicare Part A due to your work history.
Here's an example:
John is 65. He has Medicare but needs to pay a premium for his Part A Medicare since he's worked for less than 10 years. His wife, Lily, has been working for more than 10 years. When Lily turns 62, John no longer needs to pay the Part A premium — it's free.
This transfer of spousal benefit is possible only when you turn 62, and your spouse is 65, or vice versa. Your Medicare, however, will not begin until you're 65.
If you retire before 65, but your spouse is still in the workforce, you might be covered under their employer's healthcare insurance — if it includes your spouse.
You can also go for COBRA, which allows you to continue your previous employer's coverage. COBRA is a federal law that will enable you to continue your previous employer's coverage for a limited time (18 to 36 months). The premium for COBRA coverage is usually higher than what you were paying as an active employee, but it still might be lower than what you would pay for an individual health insurance policy. Note that once you turn 65, COBRA is no longer considered "creditable" coverage by Medicare. You could face penalties for not enrolling in Medicare if you stay on COBRA after you turn 65.
You can also purchase an affordable private health insurance plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace, where you can compare plans and prices to find the best coverage for you.
Medicare benefits usually don't begin until you're 65. So, if you retire at age 62 and are not in one of the exemption groups, you'll likely have to look for other options to cover your health expenses.
If you're retiring before (or after) turning 65, and have any questions about your health insurance, you can speak to Fair Square Medicare's licensed experts at 1-888-376-2028. We can give you a clear picture and guide you through your options.
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