Enrolling in Medicare is something that most people will do at some point, and the benefits of being a Medicare recipient are numerous; however, there may be some reasons to delay coverage that actually work out in your favor. Delaying enrollment can also be detrimental in some situations, so it pays to be informed as to what your options are. It’s also a good idea to speak with a qualified Medicare plan provider or adviser prior to making a decision regarding enrollment or the delaying of enrollment as choices you make now can have a large impact on your finances and your healthcare options down the road.
Delaying Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient treatment in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. This type of coverage is automatic for most people if they meet the criteria, become eligible due to age or disability, and have worked for 10 years. People who meet these requirements will also typically not be required to pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage, so there isn’t much to gain by not enrolling, but if you don’t have a different care plan in place, you could stand to lose a lot if you find yourself needing emergency medical care in a hospital. As a result, it’s usually a good idea to accept enrollment in Part A, even if you have other insurance or plan to pay for expenses on your own.
Delaying Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including things like doctor visits and lab work. This type of coverage does require a monthly premium in order to stay enrolled, so if you currently have healthcare insurance provided by an employer or your own private insurance policy, delaying enrollment means you will not have to pay the monthly premium. Keep in mind that you can have both employer-sponsored healthcare insurance and Medicare at the same time.
If you qualify for Medicare and opt not to enroll in Part B when eligible, you may need to pay a late enrollment fee when you sign up later if you do not currently have other insurance. Individuals who currently have insurance may be able to enroll in Medicare Part B without a penalty if the reason for enrolling is that the current insurance policy is expiring.
Delaying Medicare Part D
Prescription medication coverage is usually provided by Medicare under Part D, and this coverage is used to purchase self-administered prescription medications that can be bought from a retail pharmacy. It does not cover injectable drugs or other forms of medications that must be administered by a healthcare professional in a clinic or care facility.
You can save money on monthly premiums by delaying or declining enrollment in Part D, but this means that you are going to be responsible for 100% of your prescription drug costs. Even though you may not need many prescriptions right now, you never know what may be coming your way in the future, so it’s best to discuss your current and expected healthcare needs with your doctor before making a decision about delaying or declining Part D coverage.
Delaying Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but these plans typically include additional benefits and possibly reduced costs on things like premiums and co-pays. You can usually enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan at any time after reaching Medicare eligibility without penalty, but delaying this type of coverage plan could mean that you end up paying more than you need to for healthcare expenses without the additional coverage afforded by a Medicare Advantage plan.
Additionally, although MA plans include the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, there may be differences in how prescription coverage is treated compared to Original Medicare Part D. Compare drug plans before enrolling as costs and coverage can vary.