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Can My Dependents Continue COBRA When I Get Medicare?

I am 66 years old and have full Medicare coverage, as well as company insurance where I work. My wife is only 64 years old and not on Medicare, but is included on my company insurance. I plan to retire in 2 weeks and have requested COBRA insurance for my wife. I do not want to keep COBRA as I have Medicare, however, I must keep my wife on COBRA. The understanding I have received from my employer is we BOTH must take the COBRA and only if I do not currently have Medicare. Question #1, can my wife take the COBRA coverage without me taking it? Question #2, Can I take COBRA coverage with Medicare I already have? 

Once you are entitled to Medicare you are no longer allowed to continue on the employer‘s group health plan. You are not able to have Medicare and COBRA. However, your spouse and dependents will still be eligible for COBRA. On the COBRA election form from your employer, it will allow you to continue the coverage on your spouse only.

Medicare At Age 65

After your employer insurance expires, you’ll sign up for Medicare within 8 months.

In general, you can sign up for Part A and Part B starting three months before your 65th birthday and ending three months after your 65th birthday.

  • Even if you choose COBRA or other non-Medicare coverage, your 8-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B begins when you stop working.
  • If you lose your job-based health insurance before you or your spouse retire, you have 8 months to enroll.

Learn More About COBRA and Medicare

  • How To Avoid The COBRA Medicare Trap
  • Working Past Retirement Age
  • Learn About Medicare Advantage
  • Helpful Resources

More About Medicare And Retirement

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