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6 Things to Know About Retiree Coverage

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6 Things to Know About Retiree Coverage

Insurance, Seniors

If you’re retired and have Medicare and group health plan (retiree) coverage from a former employer, generally:

  • Medicare pays first for your health care bills
  • Your group health plan coverage pays second

How your retiree group health plan coverage works depends on the terms of your specific plan. Your employer or union, or your spouse’s employer or union, might not offer any health coverage after you retire. If you can get group health plan coverage after you retire:

  • Your plan might have different benefits than Medicare.
  • You may not have to enroll into a separate Medicare plan.
Can You Continue Coverage After Retirement?

Find out if you can continue your employer coverage after you retire. Generally, when you have retiree coverage from an employer or union, they control this coverage. Employers aren’t required to provide retiree coverage, and they can change benefits or premiums, or even cancel coverage.

Which is less Costly, Private Medicare or Group Retiree Coverage?

Find out the price and benefits of the retiree coverage, including whether it includes coverage for your spouse. Your employer or union may offer retiree coverage for you and/or your spouse that limits how much it will pay. It might only provide “stop loss” coverage, which starts paying your out-of-pocket costs only when they reach a maximum amount.

Does Coverage Change Once You Become Medicare Eligible?

Find out what happens to your retiree coverage when you’re eligible for Medicare. For example, retiree coverage might not pay your medical costs during any period in which you were eligible for Medicare but didn’t sign up for it. When you become eligible for Medicare, you will need to enroll in both Medicare Part A and Part B to get full benefits from your retiree coverage.

Will Your Spouse Be Covered After You Turn 65?

Find out what effect your continued coverage as a retiree will have on both your health coverage and your spouse’s health coverage. If you’re not sure how your retiree coverage works with Medicare, get a copy of your plan’s benefit booklet, or look at the summary plan description provided by your employer or union. You can also call your employer’s benefits administrator and ask how the plan pays when you have Medicare. You may want to talk to your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for advice about whether to buy a Medicare Supplement policy.

What Happens if Your Former Employer Goes Bankrupt?

If your former employer goes bankrupt or out of business, Federal COBRA rules may protect you if any other company within the same corporate organization still offers a group health plan to its employees. That plan is required to offer you COBRA continuation coverage. If you can’t get COBRA continuation coverage, you may have the right to buy a Medigap policy even if you’re no longer in your Medigap open enrollment period.

Does Your Plan Offer Extra Benefits?

(Dental, Hearing, Vision, Gym Membership, etc)

Since Medicare pays first after you retire, your retiree coverage is likely to be similar to coverage under a medicare supplement policy. Retiree coverage isn’t the same thing as a Medigap policy but, like a Medigap policy, it usually offers benefits that fill in some of Medicare’s gaps in coverage—like coinsurance and deductibles. Sometimes retiree coverage includes extra benefits, like coverage for extra days in the hospital.

1 Comment

  1. John Egan

    First, congratulations for being one of the first companies to step forward “post Roe” and offer assistance to birthing mothers, adoption, etc! That is what has drawn me to your page.

    That is My comment and I hope many others are visiting your page as well.

    A question I have: I am 60 years old. I left my work in April of ‘21. In may of ‘21 I was accepted to Medicare due to my qualifying disability. Medicare (A and B) is my primary and I still have company insurance as my secondary. I will be losing that company benefit in approximately 6 months. I do have an illness that will get progressively worse. I will need to eventually transition to Medigap or a supplemental along with pharmacy (and maybe dental benefits). Can someone at your company guide me on this, as well as guidance for my wife who will no longer have insurance once my company benefits cease.



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