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2021 Employer Health Care Costs: A Medicare Customer Question

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(Related: Active Employee Coverage and Medicare Part B: Medicare Customer Inbox)

Some Medicare enrollment questions come from workers past the usual retirement age who are still using their employer’s health plan.

Here’s one that’s probably on the minds of many Medicare-eligible employees going into the new year.

The Question

I’m over 65 and still working full-time. I have health coverage through my employer. What are the benefits of switching to Medicare in 2021?

The Answer

There are a few key reasons those eligible for Medicare should consider making the switch, primarily lower cost, wider coverage and greater satisfaction. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation employer health survey, premiums for employer healthcare are up by as much as 4% and deductibles have increased by 25% over the past five years.

For those with employer-sponsored health plans, the average deductible amount for single coverage is $1,644, and less than half of people with employer plans are satisfied with the choice of provider networks available. There are also more out-of-pocket costs for hospital admission and outpatient surgery under employer healthcare plans.

Medicare premiums are increasingly slightly in 2021, and Medicare offers greater coverage options, covering 93% of primary care doctors nationwide. The standard premium for Medicare Part B will be $148.50 in 2021, compared with $144.60/month in 2020. In addition, the Part B deductible is $203 and many times it is $0 with a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you’re less than satisfied with your current employer-sponsored health plan, making the switch to Medicare could be the answer. According to a survey conducted by Insure.com, 78% of Medicare beneficiaries indicated satisfaction with their insurance coverage, compared with only 60% of those with employer coverage.

And if you’ve recently seen your health care costs increase, now is a great time to speak with a Medicare specialist about your options. Individuals over the age of 65 are more likely to have a higher rate of chronic illnesses and higher overall healthcare costs, but with Medicare’s rates locked in for the year, switching now could lead to significant healthcare savings in 2021.

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Bethany CissellBethany Cissell is a health care insurance services specialist at Allsup.