Everyone who qualifies receives Part A of Medicare – like it or not. But Hey!, It’s Free, so why not? Right? You still have to enroll in Part A only when you are first eligible, but if you forget, don’t worry, there is NO PENALTY for not enrolling in Part A of Medicare. You just won’t have it if you forget.
If you have some other types of Health Care currently, you may have Creditable Health Coverage and may not have to enroll in Part B of Medicare. As long as you keep your Creditable Coverage up until the point to where you do enroll in Part B (Like retiring after you are 65) Then there WILL NOT be a penalty assessed for not taking Part B when you were first eligible, as long as you had Creditable Coverage up until the point when your Medicare Benefits are effective. (At age 65 for most folks)
Forms of Creditable Coverage Accepted by Medicare
• Most Employer Based plans in the United States are considered Creditable. If you work for an overseas employer that may not be the case.
• Coverage from a spouse’s Employer Based Coverage. Again, most of the time – yes, BUT find out from your Human Resources Dept. first.
• Retirement Plan or Pension Plan based coverage
• Coverage from a spouse’s Retirement or Pension Coverage
Forms of NON Creditable Coverage
• VA Medical coverage is not creditable according to Medicare (Though, using the VA for Prescription Drug Coverage is a creditable alternative to Part D)
• Reimbursement or Indemnity plans. These plans pay you directly when you need Medical Treatment. They are NOT Creditable (Be careful here, there are a lot of these plans sold as alternative health coverage, they are NOT Creditable Coverage)
• Coverage from an overseas employer. Most of these are NOT Creditable. Be sure to check first!
Most important step here is to always ASK the right people. Human Resources Departments are required to know if the Insurance Coverage is Creditable or not. The LAST place to go for Medicare advice is the Social Security Office. They WILL NOT know if your coverage is Creditable, but they always seem to offer some advice anyway – right or wrong.