Employer plan turning 67-year-old away

My husband is 67 and still works full-time.  He had kept health insurance from the company he retired from, instead of taking the new company’s plan.  His old company is now going bankrupt and the retiree medical plan is going away.  His current company has told him that he cannot enroll in their plan.  They said “they don’t pay for Medicare”.  Why aren’t they letting him join the plan like any other employee?  It doesn’t seem fair.  And this leaves both of us high and dry – I am only 62 years old and have no other source of insurance.

Getting Short Shrift

Dear Getting Short Shrift,

You are correct.  It’s not just unfair, it’s illegal too.  They should let him join like any other full-time employee.  If they are refusing to enroll him, they are discriminating against him based upon his age.  This is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  He could make a stink, but if he wants to keep this job, he won’t want to do that. Even if he does decide to raise the fairness/legal issue, you and he will need coverage while that plays out.

So, in the meantime, he will need to enroll in Medicare Part B ($104.90 per month in 2013) and Part D (monthly cost varies, but can be as low as $15 or $20 per month).  He was automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when he turned 65; this has no monthly cost to him.

For yourself, you will need to find an individual plan assuming that the discontinued retiree plan is not offering any COBRA coverage.  An individual plan may be cheaper than the COBRA coverage, in any case.  Your best strategy is to find an insurance agent who specializes in individual health and life insurance.  If you have a life insurance agent, ask him or her to recommend someone.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.