Leaving Group Health
Group health insurance is available through most employers. With this plan, you and your coworkers’ risks and need for insured illnesses, conditions, and health needs are shared amongst those under the plan, thus reducing the risk for the insurance company. The nice thing about shared risk? It means lower costs.
So, when you’re under a group health plan, you will have a required participation rate (often around 70%), but premiums are shared between the company and employees. And, if you choose, you do not have to accept your employer’s health insurance.
When to Leave Your Group Health Plan
Besides retiring or quitting your job, there are a few reasons why you may decide to leave your group health plan. One very simple reason is that the coverage offered in it doesn’t work for you. If you need coverage not available in the plan, or you think you’re overpaying for coverage you don’t need, you may be able to find a better-suited plan elsewhere.
Another common reason is for those with larger families—you must pay extra for anyone else besides yourself you add onto the plan. This may work for smaller households, but it may be unreasonable for your situation. Just be sure to compare and shop around for plans before making the switch.
Before You Leave Your Group Health Insurance…
If you decide that your employer’s group health plan isn’t right for you, you should consider leaving it and seeking other options, even if you aren’t yet eligible for Medicare. Also, be sure to keep in mind the cost—group health premiums are tax-deferrable, so if you get a new plan, you will likely have a bit of extra cost added into your tax payments.
Enrolling in Medicare After Leaving Group Health
Your group health insurance will almost certainly end after you leave the position or retire. When it comes to seniors and retirement, this process will look different for everyone. Some people will retire before they are eligible for Medicare, while others wait.
Whatever your situation, the best time to enroll in Medicare is when you turn 65. This way, you will have the coverage you need if/when your group health plan ends, and receive additional coverage if/while you have both.