• Question
  • losing retiree plan

    Asked on 6/6/2012

    If I keep my former employers retiree plan once I qualify for Medicare and then later my former employer drops retiree coverage, would I still be able to get a Medicap plan and a prescription (D) plan without penalty?

  • Categories: Employer Coverage & Medicare, Health Care and Health Insurance


  • Editorial 


    San Francisco, CA

    Get a FREE phone consultation
    with an advisor. Learn more...
  • Good job for being informed and asking this question about your health care coverage.

    The ins and outs of Medicare are complex especially when combined with employer coverage.

    I think that the answer to your question can be found here:

    It does appear that you will be able to enroll in a Medigap plan without penalty. The document says that if you leave coverage from your employer or union (including COBRA coverage) then you can join a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription drug plan. Your chance to join lasts two full months after the month your coverage ends.

    We hope that you found some additional answers about Retirement Planning in the NewRetirement Retirement Calculator:

    And, you can compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance quotes here:

  • Login to rate this answer:   Answered on 6/8/2012
  • NewRetirement User

    54 year old

    Get a FREE phone consultation
    with an advisor. Learn more...
  • The answer to your question depends.

    You can always get a Medigap plan as long as you qualify medically. But if you don't, it depends on what type of plan you had through your former employer (in other words were they paying for a creditable group retiree plan, or was it an individual plan that you purchased and they reimbursed, whether you lost your plan voluntarily or involuntarily, and also can depend on what state you live in as some states, such as California, give more protections than other states.

    In general, you would be able to get a Medigap plan on a "guaranteed issue" basis, as long as you did so within 63 days of losing your group retiree plan.

    If you missed the deadline then the insurance companies can deny you coverage for a Medigap plan due to health conditions.

    Medigap plans are different from Medicare Advantage Plans, who cannot deny you due to health conditions, but you cannot enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan unless its during a Special Election Period (ie losing employer coverage) or the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) which is October 15th through December 7th of every year.

    One thing you do need to be aware of is that most retiree plans are considered SECONDARY to Medicare. So if you do not sign up for Medicare Parts A and B you might not have insurance at all. I have a friend who didn't believe me on this, so we called her human resources department. My friend was paying over a thousand dollars a month for coverage, and it was great coverage before she turned 65. I asked the HR person, "is this plan primary or secondary to Medicare" and she said "secondary". I then asked, "so if she doesn't have Medicare that means she doesn't have insurance, right?" and the HR person confirmed that I was right.

    So make sure you understand how Medicare is different from your company plan, and make sure you follow the rules. If my friend wouldn't have signed up for Medicare that day, she would have had to wait until the following January to apply, and her coverage wouldn't have started until July. She would have been without coverage for over a year.

    I hope this helps!
    Katherine Kline
    Founder http://MedicareQuick.com

  • Login to rate this answer:   Answered on 4/25/2019
**All above answers are provided as general information only. No warranty is made regarding the fitness or accuracy of the information provided in this answer. You should seek advice from a licensed CPA, attorney or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ as to your unique financial situation.