Pamela Kweller RSSA Staff
For many people, retirement is a thought-out, planned, and exciting decision to make. For others it is a decision that is made for them, unplanned and unexpected. Some people are forced into an early retirement due to layoffs, company downsizing, or medical reasons. With the current health and economic crisis, these unforeseen circumstances are even more prevalent.
The word retirement has a different meaning for each of us. Some people choose to continue working while collecting Social Security benefits. Therefore, it is important to note that collecting Social Security and retiring from the workforce do not always go hand in hand.
If you are fortunate enough to make your own retirement decision, there are several factors to consider when deciding to leave the workforce.
Of all the factors to consider, there is one that may give you enough of a reason to delay retirement until at least age 65. Medicare.
Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. There are some exceptions such as coverage for younger people who receive Social Security disability benefits and coverage for people who may be suffering from specific fatal illnesses.
For everyone else, Medicare coverage begins at age 65. Even if your spouse is 65 or older, you cannot obtain Medicare coverage until you are 65.
This is important to keep in mind because if you have access to health insurance through your employment, you may want to consider holding on to that job and that insurance until you are eligible for Medicare. Finding new insurance or signing up for COBRA can be costly. For some people, this is reason enough to not retire.
Whenever you choose to retire or even collect Social Security, be sure to enroll in Medicare within its specific enrollment period.
For the first enrollment period, you have 3 months prior to the month of your 65th birthday and 3 months after, giving you a total of 7 months to enroll in Medicare. Medicare coverage begins the 1st of the month in which you turn 65. If your birthday is on the 1st of the month, your coverage will begin the 1st of the previous month.
If you continue to work past age 65 and receive health insurance through your employment, you may choose not to enroll in Medicare right away. The second enrollment period or “special” enrollment period is an 8-month period beginning with the first full month after either your employment or health insurance has terminated.
The third enrollment period is for late enrollees and the period is from January 1 to March 31 of each year. Premiums are permanently increased 10% for each year of delay. Therefore, it is highly suggested to enroll on time!
Learn more about Medicare here.
As mentioned previously, collecting Social Security and retiring from the workforce do not necessarily go hand in hand. Deciding when to file and collect Social Security benefits is an important decision. A Social Security expert can help you make that decision by using specialized software to look at all of your claiming options and discovering the one that is best for your situation. Schedule a consultation with a RSSA here.