MEDICARE: Keeping My COBRA Plan?

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Let’s talk about enrolling into Medicare and your COBRA
coverage. What is COBRA? COBRA is a federal law that allows you as an employee, or your spouse to keep your group health insurance for between 18 and 36 months after you leave your job or lose coverage. You must also pay the full cost of the premium.

If you or your spouse is on COBRA when you turn 65, you must switch to Medicare or face the late enrollment penalty. But COBRA can still function as the main insurance if you have a younger spouse. You can also keep parts of your COBRA plan that Medicare does not cover, such as your prescription, dental, vision or hearing coverage.

Whether you can have both, COBRA and Medicare depends on which you have first, Medicare based on your age or on disability,
If you already have COBRA when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA coverage typically ends on the date you enroll in Medicare. If you have COBRA before you become Medicare-eligible, you should enroll in Part B immediately.

Why might you ask? It’s because you are not entitled to a Special Enrollment Period when your COBRA coverage ends. However, your spouse and dependents may keep COBRA for up to 36 months, regardless of whether you enroll in Medicare during that time.

You may also be able to keep COBRA coverage once you get Medicare for services that Medicare does not cover. For example, if you have COBRA dental insurance, the insurance company that provides your COBRA coverage may allow you to drop your medical coverage but keep paying a premium for the dental coverage for as long as you are entitled to

If you already have Medicare when you become eligible for COBRA, you must be allowed to enroll in COBRA. Medicare acts as the primary payer and COBRA as the secondary payer, so you should stay enrolled in Medicare Part B. You may wish to take COBRA if you have very high medical expenses and your COBRA plan offers you extra benefits, like a prescription drug, dental or vision benefits.

If you have any questions about what I have said about your COBRA coverage or even about co-pays, deductibles, or coinsurance, we will be happy to explain that to you if you give us a call.

Additional needed and relevant information about your private Medicare:

Plan F versus Plan G:

Medicare Plan G:

Medicare Plan N:

MEDICARE: Keeping My COBRA Plan?

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