Medicare and COBRA: Beware!by Denise Early on Mar. 29, 2011, under Health
If a person is over 65 and leaves work or loses his job, he should not use COBRA, the federal law that allows people to keep their employer health insurance for 18 months after their employment ends.
I recently heard from a woman who was very upset with Medicare because she used COBRA after she was 65 and, when it ran out, she was planning to move to Medicare. When she went to sign up for Medicare she was told she had made a big mistake, and she would be penalized for late enrollment in Medicare Part B.
Then she was told that she could only enroll in Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period, which is January through March. Medicare would take her application during this period, but her coverage would not start until July 1. Fortunately for her, she signed up for Medicare in February and will get her coverage this July. But, in the meantime, she has no health insurance because her COBRA ran out.
This rule related to COBRA is set in stone and will not be modified for anyone. So why do employers allow people to use COBRA if they are over 65? It should not be allowed, so people get the right information and are not penalized for getting bad advice.