Medicare is a powerful program with several advantages, but we often see employees avoiding the program even when they qualify. This trend creates an unnecessary burden for both the employee and the employer.
Employees may delay Medicare enrollment and instead stay with employer provided health insurance because they just don’t understand how to navigate the federal health care program. Some may even feel pressured to continue working into their late sixties because of uncertainties they have. The familiarity of their current health insurance is comforting. They know how it works and what to expect, so it can feel safer to stay on your employer’s insurance instead of switching to Medicare.
Health insurance itself can be challenging, in fact just over 25% of people are unsure about what their health plan covers. Medicare can be even more challenging and if not addressed early, employees could miss deadlines, choose the wrong plan or delay enrollment, which could cost them.
Furthermore, if an employee has had trouble navigating health insurance in the past, they could be less likely to explore Medicare for their future, even if it is a better fit for them.
With a growing number of boomers continuing to stay in the workforce, employers need to consider ways to help their employees properly navigate Medicare so that both the company and its employees can receive the best return on investment as possible.
Helping your people understand the complexities of Medicare such as plan options, enrollment periods, and fee structures early on can help alleviate stress for employees later. Reaching out to health insurance experts (like us) to help educate employees about these concerns as well as discuss the various options available to them can ensure they receive the best coverage for the services they need.
Part of the reason Medicare is so complicated is because it comes with multiple options. Some aspects of Medicare that employees need to consider are:
- Part A – Hospital insurance, which covers in-hospital and patient care.
- Part B – Medical insurance, which covers outpatient and medical care.
- Part D – Prescription drug coverage, covers most self-administered prescription drugs.
- Medicare – includes Part A, Part B and the option of adding Part D
- Medicare Advantage – considered an “all in one” alternative to Medicare, and includes Part A, Part B and sometimes Part D as well as other benefits such as vision/dental etc.
- There are also premiums, deductibles and copays to consider.
Each employee reaching the age of sixty-five will have a unique set of health care needs and could benefit by discussing their options with a professional who knows the answers to their specific questions. For example, not all employees are required to sign up for Part A and B until they retire. However, penalties apply to those who don’t sign up within eight month of leaving their job.
Also, some employees contribute to health savings accounts, a tax-free account used to pay medical expenses. They will need to know how Medicare does or doesn’t integrate with these and other accounts.
Addressing concerns like these can help employees avoid financial burdens later, such as penalties, late fees, and over contributions. In other words, you as the employer can have a significant impact on your employees’ lives. You can make them more financially secure and eliminate huge sources of stress.
By setting up consultations with an expert to talk about their individual health insurance needs, you can show your employees that you truly want the best for them and they can feel comfortable knowing they are making smart choices.
Medicare can be a difficult program to navigate, leaving many employees confused and overwhelmed, some even avoiding enrollment entirely. But, the more information your employees have, the more supportive the benefits plan is, the more comfortable and confident your employees will be about making the transition into Medicare and retirement.