How Different Types of Insurance Work with Medicare?

Often a person will have medical coverage through their employer or through their retiree health plan. These additional kinds of coverage work well in conjunction with Original Medicare. If you already have insurance coverage through the Military, the VA, your current employer or your retiree benefits you will want to contact your insurance plan administrator before you turn 65 and tell them that you also want to sign up for Medicare. Doing so may affect your current insurance plan.

People who haven't yet retired and are happy with their insurance coverage can delay the start of their Medicare benefits as long as they are employed. All Medicare benefits except Part A require a monthly premium. It may not make financial sense to add these premiums in addition to your current health insurance premiums. While you are still working you can delay your Medicare enrollment without incurring a penalty. After you stop working you can sign up for Medicare coverage under Special Enrollment.

However, if you decide to add Medicare coverage and retain your other health insurance coverage you will need to be aware that there are a complex set of rules that apply to all these "payers." These rules determine who pays first and second. Make sure to tell ALL of your doctors and providers about the different types of insurance you have so that all of the insurance companies are billed before you are.

Auntie Lou says, "Don't let any of those pesky payers get away! Make sure every insurance plan pays before you do."

Additional retiree coverage is usually a huge bonus because it will reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Much of Medicare Part A and Part B requires 20% co-pays. Your retiree coverage can cover the bulk of that 20% leaving you with very little out of pocket expenses. These plans generally also negate the need for a Medicare Medigap insurance plan that is often added to Medicare to help pay for health care expenses. In addition, most of these private plans also include prescription drug coverage and this can eliminate the need for signing up for a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

For additional help you can contact the Medicare Coordination of benefits Contractor (COBO) at 1-800-999-1118. TTY call 1-800-318-8782 and talk with your retiree plan's administrator. Also look at the excellent Medicare Booklet about using other insurance with Medicare.