Are you a retired from your service and are you enrolled in some group health plan with your former employer as coverage and also have Medicare supplement plans, if so:
- Medicare pays for health care bills first
- The coverage of group health plan pays next
The coverage of your retiree group health plan is based on specific plan terms. Your union or employer, or the union or employers of your spouse, may not provide the expected health coverage on retiring. In case you have coverage through group health plan after retiring, it may include completely different set of rules and may not work with Medicare in the same way as in with the group scheme.
Important points about retiree coverage
- On retiring or just before retiring find out if the employer coverage can be continued even after retiring. Normally, having retiree coverage means the union or employer has a control over the coverage. There is no need for the employers to afford retiree coverage, while they can alter the premiums or benefits or even consider cancelling the coverage.
- Understand the benefits and price of retiree coverage. Does it include spouse coverage? Your union or employers may provide retiree coverage for you or/and your spouse, but it may limit the pay such that it pays only for ‘stop loss’ coverage. It means you will pay from your pocket only on reaching maximum amount.
- Try to find what happens to the retiree coverage as you become Medicare supplement plans eligible. The retiree coverage may fail to pay medical costs when you became eligible for Medicare and you also did not sign for Medicare. Becoming Medicare eligible implies you need to enroll with Part A and B Medicare supplement plans to enjoy the retiree coverage full benefits.
- Find the effect as a retiree on having continued coverage; will it provide health coverage for you and your spouse. In case you are uncertain about the retiree coverage working system with Medicare Supplement plans, you can call the benefits administrator and consult about the plan provided by the employer with Medicare.
- In case your former employers really go out of business or bankrupt, the rules are protected by Federal COBRA. The plan requires you to offer the continuation coverage under COBRA. In case you are able to avail the continuation COBRA coverage, you need to buy Medicare Supplement Plans 2018 policy, regardless of the fact that you are not in the open enrolment period of Medigap.