You’ve probably heard the saying “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine”. Shakespeare may have written it years ago, but it is still relevant today! It is even applicable to Medicare.
So, when it comes to Medicare (specifically Part A) coverage you may be wondering, “Can I get Medicare through my spouse?” You’ll need to answer a few questions to get down to the bottom of that question.
Medicare Part A Eligibility
First it is important to understand your own eligibility for premium-free Part A. If you are eligible on your own, you won’t have to worry about researching your eligibility through your spouse.
You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are 65 and:
- You worked at least 40 quarters in the United States in which you paid Social Security taxes
- OR You are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits
Additionally, anyone under age 65 with a qualifying disability or has End-Stage Renal Disease could also qualify for Medicare.
Medicare for Non-Working Spouse
If none of the above applies, the next step would be to look at the eligibility of your spouse. If your spouse meets the criteria outlined above, you may be eligible for that $0 Part A premium each month.
Here are several scenarios in which you would be eligible for Medicare at age 65 through your spouse, who must be at least age 62:
Married: If you have been married for at least 1 year and your spouse is eligible for Social Security
Divorced: If you were married for at least 10 years, your former spouse is eligible for Social Security, and you are now single
Widowed: If you were married for at least 9 months, your late spouse was eligible for Social Security, and you are now single
Again, it is important to note that the spouse that qualifies for Medicare must be at least 62 years old for you to receive Medicare benefits. If your spouse is not yet 62, then you will pay for Part A until he or she turns 62.
What is Not Covered Through Your Spouse’s Medicare?
There are a couple things that you will not share when it comes to Medicare through your spouse.
Part B premiums
Regardless of how you qualify for premium-free Part A, you will likely pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Part B.
Your Part B premium will depend upon your income though for most people it is $134 in 2018. Social Security will deduct your Part B premium from your Social Security check monthly. If you do not get Social Security, you will always receive a quarterly bill for your premium.
Additionally, if you are not eligible for premium-free Part A, you can buy Part B without having to buy Part A.
Joint Coverage for Medicare and Spouse?
Every now and then we speak to beneficiaries looking for a joint Medicare plan with their spouse. No matter who you are or what plan you choose, your Medicare will always be an individual plan. This means you will have your own Medicare claim numbers and your Part B premium will be paid separately.
With that said, there are some Medigap plans that will offer you significant savings on your monthly premium through a “Spousal Discount” even when you have separate Medicare claim numbers.
Our software at Boomer Benefits helps us to find the best discounts for you and your spouse when we are quoting Medigap policies.
HSA Where One Spouse is on Medicare
Contributing to an HSA can be tricky when it comes to Medicare. The IRS prohibits contributions into an HSA when a beneficiary is enrolled in any part of Medicare, but they do not prohibit the spouse.
Here are some frequently asked questions about HSAs and Medicare from your spouse.
Am I able to contribute to my spouse’s HSA if I’m enrolled in Medicare?
Yes, if your spouse is HSA-eligible, you can contribute to his or her HSA. Your enrollment in Medicare doesn’t disqualify your spouse from contributing to an HSA. You can still contribute funds, either through post-tax payroll or directly from your payroll provider to your spouse’s HSA.
If my spouse and I are enrolled on my employer’s HSA-qualified plan and I enroll in Medicare, can he open a separate HSA?
Yes, if your spouse is otherwise HSA-eligible (not on Medicare) he or she can open an HSA at any time. You or your spouse can then make tax-deductible contributions into the HSA, up to the family maximum. This allows couples to continue to contribute to an HSA for several years even after the older spouse enrolls in Medicare.
Health Insurance for Spouse of a Medicare Recipient
Sometimes we get questions about what to do with the spouse who is losing group health insurance because the working spouse is now going on Medicare. Fortunately, this situation qualifies for a Special Election Period under the Affordable Care Act.
When one spouse goes on Medicare, the non-working spouse who is under 65 and not eligible for Medicare yet can visit www.healthcare.gov to sign up for an individual plan through the healthcare exchange.
So now that you know what you share and what you don’t when it comes to Medicare with your spouse, you have a checklist to make.
You will want to determine:
- Am I eligible for premium-free Part A without my spouse?
- Has my spouse worked enough for me to be eligible for Medicare Part A?
- Will my spouse be eligible for Social Security (at least 62) when I enroll in Medicare?
- Should we adjust our HSA contributions once I enroll in Medicare?
- How will I pay for Part B if I am not eligible for Part A?
If it sounds a bit overwhelming, you are not alone! The eligibility requirements with Medicare can seem a bit messy. That is why our team of Medicare Experts is dedicated to helping you through every step of the process.
We’ve handled just about every Medicare-related situation you can think of. Our team is ready to answer your questions about Medicare through your spouse and will recommend the best plan for you.