| Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 10:52 AM

Is Medicare Mandatory?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Strictly speaking, Medicare is not mandatory. But very few people will have no Medicare coverage at all – ever. You may have good reasons to delay signing up, though.

Reasons to Delay Medicare Part A

One key reason to delay Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is because you want to contribute to a health savings account (HSA) past age 65. An HSA, in conjunction with a high-deductible health plan, allows you to save money tax-free. You can use the funds to pay qualified health care costs. (Note: You can’t refuse or delay Part A if you receive Social Security benefits, unless you forfeit your benefits.)

You may be able to keep it and keep contributing to your HSA after you become eligible for Medicare, if you qualify. Once you enroll in any part of Medicare – even if it’s only premium-free Part A – you can no longer put money into an HSA.

Check with your plan benefits manager about your options. You’ll want to make sure you’ll qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period when your employer insurance ends. If you don’t, you may have to pay late enrollment penalties.

People who have to pay a premium for Part A may consider delaying enrollment to avoid the expense. Part A charges a penalty for late enrollment, though. Another option in this case is to get a Marketplace plan instead of Medicare.

Reasons to Delay Medicare Part B

You may want to delay Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and postpone paying the monthly premium that comes with it. Pay attention to timing when you’re ready to enroll, though. Part B charges a late enrollment penalty unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You may qualify if you have creditable coverage through an employer or union.

Speak with your plan benefits manager before making a decision about Part B. You’ll want to make sure you understand all your options. Make a plan for Medicare enrollment that works for you.

For more information about Medicare, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.