Are Social Security Retirement and Medicare the Same?

Social Security Poster: old man
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Last week I was asked for my opinion about early retirement.  Below is the answer I gave.

“You can draw early Social Security Retirement at 62 but unless you have been disabled for at least 24 months, you cannot get Medicare until you are 65. If you want to go into semi-retirement, you will have to check with your HR department at work to verify how much you actually have to work to stay on the group health insurance plan.  Hopefully, that will make your decision a non-decision.


When you turn 65 you will have the option to stay on your company’s group plan or enroll in Medicare.  Most group policies act merely as Medicare Supplements.  I do not know if your company is primary or secondary.  That is something you should find out from your HR department in the next 3 years.  If it is secondary, check with me a month or two before you retire to see what your options are.  Things are liable to change in the next 3 years.

Although there is nothing that you can do about Medicare or Medicare Supplements at this point in time, my recommendation is that you look at a Partnership type Long Term Care Insurance plan if you have been able accumulate assets of at least $ 30,000 but less than $ 750,000.  It would shelter your savings for your husband and/or children and prevent the need for any “spend-down” plans in order to qualify for Medicaid if your body suffers problems in the future.  Ideally, people get them in their early 50s.  If they are gotten prior to age 55 they can be paid in full by the time you are 65.  If people wait until they are in their 60s, the pre-paid options are not available.  On top of that, the younger a person is, the lower the costs are.”


The bottom line is that Social Security Retirement and Medicare is not the same thing.  Social Security Retirement pays you a predictable amount of money each month during your retirement.  Medicare is a substitute for the health insurance you had during your career.  It helps pay for your medical bills.

You may be able to retire and receive Social Security Retirement benefits earlier than age 65.  Unless you have received Social Security Disability payments for 24 months or suffer from End Stage Renal Disease, you have to wait until you are 65 to get Medicare.  Those people who retire from their companies early on Social Security Retirement have no health insurance for those years unless they get retirement benefits from their former employer or have gotten an individual health insurance plan.

Before you take early Social Security Retirement, think things through.  Once you leave your job, you cannot always go back.


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