I have Medicare. My Spouse Doesn’t. Now What?

I have Medicare. My Spouse Doesn’t. Now What?

Feb 13 2018

Many retirees are unsure of how signing up for Medicare will affect their dependents.

Medicare has many benefits for individuals 65 and older, but it’s important to note that coverage for your spouse or dependents isn’t one of them.

There is no family coverage available through Medicare. Medicare benefits are only available to a person under 65 if he or she has had a disability for more than two years. However, there are affordable coverage options for your spouse and other dependents when you move to Medicare.

Younger spouses who are still working might be able to switch to a health insurance plan provided by their employer, if offered. You could also opt for your spouse to buy a personal insurance coverage plan.

A good place to start is by investigating what benefits are offered by your previous employer. Some companies offer health benefits to retirees and their spouses well after retirement. If available, this is a great option to tide you over until you are both Medicare eligible.

Younger spouses who are still working might be able to switch to a health insurance plan provided by their employer, if offered. You could also opt for your spouse to buy a personal insurance coverage plan. In both cases, your spouse should consider the options available and find a plan that is suitable for your lifestyle and budget and meets their health care needs. In fact, there are subsidies available in the individual insurance market to help ease the cost.

If these options don’t apply or aren’t feasible for your family, here are other resources that may help:

COBRA – Allows you to temporarily keep your employer’s health care coverage after the employment ends or you lose coverage. You are covered for up to 18 months if you pay the full premium. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s guide on how COBRA works.

HIPPA – After having COBRA insurance for 18 months, or if you’ve had group insurance without any breaks in your coverage, you may be eligible to purchase coverage under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which protects families and workers. HIPPA laws state you may have the right to buy individual insurance that doesn’t limit coverage for previous medical conditions.

Medicaid & Healthy Michigan – The Michigan Medicaid and Healthy Michigan programs provide health care coverage for families and individuals with low income and limited resources. Michigan has many health care programs available to those who meet eligibility requirements.

Retirement should be a time of relaxation, not spent worrying about health care coverage for your family. It’s important to explore your options to ensure you get the best coverage at the right price.

Starting to plan for your retirement? Visit our Retirement Starter for the tools and resources to help you get started.

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