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Blue @ Work

The employer's guide to navigating Medicare

You need to be prepared, too.

A whopping 75 percent of the workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025, and employers are making drastic changes to their benefits, services and offerings for employees to ensure this crowd avoids living up to their job-hopping External Site reputation.

But, what about your workforce that's nearing retirement age?

Early, on-time, or later than expected — your employees are on their own retirement timeline. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about the next exciting chapter of their life.

More than 10 million Americans External Site are working past retirement age. And, it’s not only because they love working — it’s actually a number of factors like living longer, shifting from pension to 401(k), or wage stagnation over the past 20 years.

The picture-perfect scenario of your employees retiring early or on-time at 65 may no longer be their reality. So, how can you help set up your employees for a smooth transition into retirement?

Did you know?

The average healthy couple will spend $377,000 on health care in retirement. Source: HealthView Services, 2016

Employer's guide to help employees navigate Medicare.

Retirement is a big deal to you and your employees. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn about Medicare, and in turn, be your employees' Medicare Mentor to help them successfully plan for — or make the transition into — retirement easier.

First, let’s cover the high-level basics of Medicare.

As your company’s HR or benefits administrator, you have a lot on your plate and knowing the ins and outs of Medicare may not be at the top of your to-do list. We want to help make your job easy, so you can spend more time on your work and be the ‘health plan hero’ to your employees.

  • What is Medicare? It’s a health insurance program through the federal government for people over the age of 65 or with certain disabilities.
  • What are the different parts of Medicare? The original coverage managed through the federal government has two parts:
    • Part A: covers hospital costs and is offered at NO COST to nearly anyone eligible.
    • Part B: covers medical care and is available at a monthly premium to most people who are eligible.
  • What else do I need to know? Not all health care expenses are 100 percent covered through Original Medicare. But, an Employer Group Retiree Program (EGRP) can help you fill that gap, which is why your soon-to-be retirees can count on Wellmark to help pay for things Original Medicare won’t: deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

Medicare misconceptions by your employees.

More than 7 out of 10 surveyed adults over 50 with a household income of $150,000 wish they better understood Medicare External Site coverage according to Nationwide Retirement Institute. There are three major facts most pre-retirees are getting all wrong about Medicare, and we have the answers to help address these common 'Medicare myths' with your employees.

  • Myth 1: Coverage for outpatient care is free. Half of participants didn’t know Medicare Part B is NOT free according to a Harris Poll survey External Site. There is a monthly premium that can vary depending on income.
  • Myth 2: You can enroll in Medicare whenever. If employees get coverage through their employer or their spouses’ employer and work past age 65, they’ll get a special enrollment period once they end their coverage and won’t have to pay an increased payment. PSST: When delayed enrollment happens, there is a 10 percent increased premium per month for the rest of their lives, so it is best if employees enroll when they are first eligible.
  • Myth 3: Original Medicare covers everything. Original Medicare only covers 80 percent of costs, which is why most of your employees may choose to purchase additional coverage.

Reference these Medicare resources.

If your company doesn't offer an EGRP, you can still be a resource to your employees. Employees can download Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield's free Medicare Guide Opens in a new window, learn about various supplement plans Opens in a new window and more by visiting Opens in a new window

You can also reach out to Wellmark's Medicare Business Consultant, who is devoted to helping employers find a Medicare solution that works best for their organization.

Plan offerings through Wellmark.

It's one more way to say "thank you" for a job well done and all the hard work and service your employees have dedicated to your business. If you are a Wellmark customer, you have plan options to provide to your employees. With EGRP, your employees can take advantage of:

  • Coverage for retirees living anywhere in the U.S.
  • One rate for all retirees — eliminating administrative burden.
  • Ability to see any Medicare-participating doctor, hospital or specialist.
  • Payment flexibility.
  • Benefits and coverage options.
  • Company reliability and 80 years of experience.

It’s true, Wellmark members get more.

With Wellmark, your employees will get more than a Medicare benefit plan, they’ll get peace of mind knowing their coverage is coming from a company they know and trust. Your employees also can count on a variety of extra programs and services such as:

If you're looking for more Medicare insights or education Opens in a new window for your employees, or providing an Employer Group Retiree Program (EGRP), contact your authorized Wellmark representative, or email us at Send Email.

If you are an employer group outside Iowa or South Dakota, go to, or call 888-639-2583 to find a Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan near you.

[1] Prescription drug coverage is not covered under an EGRP plan.