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Medicare While Working

Medicaid and Medicare are tied closely together for older Americans. Many of today’s seniors continue to work until they are older or rejoin the workforce after a period of retirement. Medicare and Medicaid can be issues for individuals in circumstances like these.

Those who receive Social Security Income (SSI) benefits often worry about losing Medicaid coverage. According to the Social Security Act, some protection should still be available. If an individual is disabled or blind and between the ages of 16-65 (and if the individual has Medicaid before starting work), Medicaid coverage continues as long as the disabling condition is still present. Check Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act for more detail. Section 1619(b) allows workers (with disabilities or who are blind) whose income is above 250 percent of the federal poverty level to buy Medicaid coverage, expands Medicare coverage to those working disabled and extends Part A (premium-free) for 8.5 years for most working SSI beneficiaries.

Be aware that each state has different Medicaid services and plans, so check them before returning to work or getting a job after 65. Premiums may also vary.

What You Need to Know about Continued Medicare Coverage

Under the auspices of Medicare, most individuals with disabilities in the workforce continue to receive, for free, at least 93 consecutive months of medical and hospital insurance after they begin work. Cash benefits may be discontinued because of their employment, but health insurance is guaranteed to remain in place. The starting point for the 93 months of coverage is marked the month after the last month of a trial work period.

Some individuals are under the age of 65, disabled and no longer eligible for Part A Hospital Insurance because they were able to return to work. Such persons may be eligible for a program that assists workers like them in paying their Medicare Part A premiums. Other working, disabled individuals are able to purchase continued coverage when their free-premium Medicare ends. States must help pay the premiums for some working disabled persons.

Those who work while disabled may be able to buy Premium Hospital Insurance (Part A) for the same price as uninsured, eligible retired beneficiaries and premium supplement medical insurance (Part B) for the same cost as uninsured, eligible retired beneficiaries. They can then find insurance separately without supplemental insurance.

To qualify for a reduction in premiums for hospital insurance, a person must: show 30 or more quarters of coverage on his or her earnings record; have been married for a minimum of one year to a worker with 30 or more quarters; have been married a minimum of one year to a deceased employee with 30 or more quarters coverage; or, if divorced after 10 years of marriage, have been married to a worker with 30 or more quarters coverage when the divorce was finalized.

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