How Medicare enrollment can trigger a problem…

As you get close to Medicare, some of you will be automatically enrolled.  This presents a problem – you cann continue to contribute to a Health Savings Account when you enroll in Medicare – but you may not be aware you  have been enrolled.  Here is a quick refresher on who gets autoenrolled:

 

Automatic Enrollment in Medicare

The following comes from the Code of Federal Regulations:

Individuals who need not file an application for hospital insurance. An individual who meets any of the following conditions need not file an application for hospital insurance:

  1. Is under age 65 and has been entitled, for more than 24 months, to monthly social security or railroad retirement benefits based on disability.
  2. At the time of attainment of age 65, is entitled to monthly social security or railroad retirement benefits.
  3. Establishes entitlement to monthly social security or railroad retirement benefits at any time after attaining age 65.

In other words, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A* when you reach age 65 if at that time you are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits (or spousal or widow/widower benefits) or have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for more than 24 months. Alternatively, if you claim Social Security benefits (including as a part of a “file and suspend” strategy) at any point after age 65, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A at that time.

In addition, the same CFR section states that, “an application under § 406.10 that is validly filed within 6 months after the first month of eligibility is retroactive to that first month. If filed more than 6 months after that first month, it is retroactive to the 6th month before the month of filing.” In other words, if you become enrolled in Medicare Part A after reaching age 65, they’re going to backdate your enrollment by 6 months (but no earlier than age 65).