Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:
- Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Part B (Medical Insurance): Covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
- Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans): A type of Medicare health plan offered by private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all of your Part A and Part B benefits.
- Part D: (Prescription Drug Coverage): Adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.
Get started on Medicare with information to help guide your Medicare coverage decisions. Learn more about Parts A and B by clicking here and selecting the description that best applies to your situation.
Before enrolling in Medicare, make sure to understand its impact on COBRA coverage and HSA contributions.
If you’re age 65 or older and plan to elect COBRA when you leave K-C, be sure to enroll in Medicare first. You must complete these steps in the correct order and by the respective deadlines, or your COBRA coverage will be terminated and you could face a penalty with Medicare.
Since COBRA is secondary to Medicare, you or your eligible dependents should enroll in Medicare-related plans prior to enrolling in COBRA in order to guarantee your Medicare-related plan coverage. If you gain Medicare eligibility after enrolling in COBRA, you’ll be dropped from COBRA as you’ll have secured other coverage (i.e., Medicare). Contact Medicare at Medicare.gov or 800-633-4227 to learn more about the related steps and deadlines.
Health Savings Account
While turning 65 doesn’t impact your Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility, enrolling in Medicare does. You can’t make any contributions to your HSA for any months after you enroll in any part of Medicare, even if you’re also enrolled in a high-deductible health plan. However, you can still use your HSA dollars, tax-free, as long as you still have a balance in the account.
For more information on HSA eligibility, click here.
If you’re eligible for K-C Retiree Medical and you and/or your dependents are eligible for Medicare (meaning at least age 65 years of age or disabled), you’ll have access to coverage options through Via Benefits, a supplemental Medicare vendor K-C has partnered with to offer a large selection of individual Medicare supplemental plans.
If you want supplemental Medicare coverage as soon as you leave K-C, you’ll need to start the process 60 days before your last day of employment.
Via Benefits will help you evaluate your supplemental Medicare coverage options with regional and national insurance companies. Go to my.viabenefits.com, click on Shop & Compare, enter your ZIP code, and then click Go to see what plans are available in your area. You must be within 60 days of turning age 65 to view premium costs or else use the default age when you click on Shop & Compare. For assistance with evaluating your options and/or navigating the site, contact Via Benefits.
Depending on your hire date, you may be eligible for support towards your supplemental Medicare premiums and other eligible expenses through the use of Retiree Medical Credits (RMCs). If you’re eligible but choose not to use your RMCs or if you’re ineligible for RMCs, you’ll be financially responsible for the full cost.