Forced Retirement !

14 years in the same chair, but a coroporate takeover for the past 4 years of my full-time, regular employment furloughed me in April and just notified me of a permanent layoff today.  I turned 66 in February this year, registering for Medicare Part A but with full health insurance provided by the employer, didn't see the need to pay for Medicare Part B until I officially retired, probably in a year or two more.

Grandma was "put out to pasture" today!  😉


I've been reading that its ok to apply for Medicare Part B WITHOUT PENALTIES upon my official announcement of retirement to employer, but I wasn't ready to retire just yet.  But now that my medical insurance will be terminated with insane Cobra options I can't afford I have to scramble sooner.


MY QUESTION IS THIS:  if they terminated me (layoff) unexpectedly, can I still announce my retirement to avoid the Part B permanent penalty surcharges?  Or did they beat me to the punch?

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 But now that my medical insurance will be terminated with insane Cobra options I can't afford I have to scramble sooner.


MY QUESTION IS THIS:  if they terminated me (layoff) unexpectedly, can I still announce my retirement to avoid the Part B permanent penalty surcharges?


COBRA and Medicare don't play well together. 


If you pull the trigger on COBRA you can end up with lifetime late enrollment penalties and possibly a gap in coverage when COBRA expires.


My suggestion is to enroll in Part B using the late enrollment process.


If you already have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), and want to enroll in Part B, you have 2 options: Apply Online:

Visit and follow the instructions provided.

Apply by Mail or Fax by following these steps:


When using forms L564 and 40B, write "I would like my Part B to be effective MM/YY" in the REMARKS section of 40B

Bark less. Wag more.

thanks for the helpful words of encouragement all !  I will be contacting SSA today for more help on this, but needless to say I didn't sleep a wink at all last night thinking about all the changes of being laid off permenantly implicates.  I hardly wanted to stop working a regular job but being 66 and female doesn't exactly paint a pretty picture for most employers here who have the lot of choices when it comes to "fresh meat" (ha ha--young blood, that is).  

That's ok--I'm in a good financial situation anyway as I've "saved my pennies" for a long time for just such an occurence, realizing age would preclude me from the job market after 65.  


Lots and lots of changes coming up in this new chapter of my life, I never expected it to be so complicated though 😉

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Another few words. I understand your feelings about the situation with your employer.


I thought I would work until 70 (due to much younger spouse) but bailed out at that 66 and one month mark. For several years I had essentially been being "encouraged" to exit and I figured why not?


You fought the good fight, as they say. You made it to that age 66 for FRA. Many others bail out earlier, but you stuck with it! 


If you wish, maybe you can find some other position... paid with some corporate or volunteer with non-profit... or go the high-paid consultant route, all depending on what you did, can do now, and what interests you.


These are wacky times what with the "virus" floating around. Even without the corporate takeover, etc, you might have been cut-back, furloughed, laid-off, sacked, RIF'd, whatever "they" want to call it. I still think you won the game.

Gold Conversationalist


Hello MichelleL,


I don't think it matters that one "retires" or is booted out kicking and screaming. All that.matters is that you are no longer covered by an employer's plan (note that Cobra is not "creditable coverage" for Medicare...delay enrolling in Medicare without creditable coverage will then cost you more in premiums forever).


Signing on to Medicare Part B is "mandatory" at age 65, unless you wish to be exempted by virtue of being covered by an employer's insurance plan, which you were, or met some other exemption.


For myself, I "retired" at age 66 plus 1 month. I applied for Medicare Part B at that time (or shortly beforehand), having gotten Part A at age 65.


Medicare plans can be very confusing. The actual Medicare and SSA sites give great information themselves (it seems that the many other commercial sites that provide information then "fluff this up" so that there's more to wade through; as I recall, the Medicare site gives a great table comparing all of the Medicare "Gap" plans, which are standardized...except for premium.

I suggest you address this all very soon as there may be some time constraints on enrolling for Medicare once you lose employer coverage..

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