What Do You Know About Your Spouse’s Medicare?
Obviously, your health plays a big role in your health insurance. Depending on how healthy you are, your premium may go up or down. When you are young and working, it might not be too bad even if your premium goes up. But imagine when you have retired and your poor health affects your health insurance. That would be quite taxing on your retirement funds, right? It has been found that many seniors don’t even know the basics of their spouse’s Medicare coverage. This can be bad especially during an emergency.
The Age To Qualify for Medicare
The age qualification for Medicare coverage is 65 years old. If your spouse does not have their own Medicare, then he or she can qualify to get coverage from yours when they are 65. Another clause that needs to be fulfilled for your spouse to be covered via Medicare is the fact that the two of you should be married for at least a year. Same gender marriages also qualify under this act, and the rules remain the same for them, too. The challenge here is that unless the spouses reach the age of 65, they are not eligible. And if an emergency arises before they are covered, it might be an expensive affair.
If your spouse is employed, then check with their employer if they have any insurance plan that might help them till they reach 65. The issue is grimmer for non-working spouses. However, couples who are divorced or widowed are also covered under this plan. If your spouse is under 65 but has some disability that gets covered by Medicare, they will be eligible for the insurance.
If your employer plan covers your spouse’s health insurance, then there is a chance that when they turn 65, they might be removed from the employer plan. But it can only happen if your employer has 20 or fewer employees. Experts say that even if your employer does not remove your spouse from the insurance plan, it is best to enroll for Medicare part A and B. Medicare will be the primary insurance once you turn 65. As there is no primary payer, the group plan stops paying as it is the secondary payer. Some employers offer COBRA or other health insurance for a younger spouse.
Health Savings Accounts
A health savings account might have worked for you so far, but once you become eligible for Medicare, you cannot contribute to these accounts anymore. However, if you have an account through your employer, and your spouse has Medicare, then you can still continue contributing.
Alternative Options For Spouses
When your spouse turns 65, they are covered by Medicare Part A, premium free. Medicare Part B usually requires a monthly premium. For those who need insurance from outside, here are a few options you can consider:
Cobra Temporary Insurance: As mentioned before, your employer might cover your spouse’s insurance until they turn 65. Often, they have COBRA temporary insurance, but remember that the COBRA law works only for those who have left or lost jobs. It lets their former employer pay for the insurance for about 18 months. If you are eligible for this scheme, apply for it.
Buy Individual Insurance: You can buy an individual or a family insurance policy that will cover your entire family. However, it can be quite costly for those above 50. Moreover, if you are suffering from a chronic disease, you might be denied of it as well.
Medicaid: Medicaid is available for the lower income group under the age of 65. If you are pregnant, 19 years of age, or have some sort of disability, you are eligible for Medicaid.
Free Community Clinics: Free or low-cost community clinics often have good doctors. These are great for those who do not need constant medical attention or help. But you might not be eligible if you are categorized under a high-income bracket.
Health is our biggest asset which means health insurance is very important especially in old age. Hence, get to know everything you can before you reach the age of retirement. When you know the pros and cons, it might be easier for you to arrange for an alternative option and be prepared if there is an emergency. Make sure you know about your and your spouses’ coverage.
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