If you’re an older American and considering a divorce, you’re not alone. We’ve talked before on the blog about so-called gray divorces (or those that affect people over age 50), which have tripled since 1990.
Divorce is difficult enough on its own, but when you’re approaching retirement, it can be even scarier—particularly if you’re a spouse who left the workforce to raise your kids.
Many people are aware that they may claim Social Security benefits on a former spouse’s work record.
But what happens with Medicare coverage?
Just as with Social Security, you may qualify for free Medicare Part A through your former spouse’s work record. Part A covers inpatient hospital visits, hospice and skilled nursing care, and some home healthcare services.
You will receive Part A benefits at no cost when you (or your former spouse) have worked at least 40 calendar quarters or ten years of paying into Social Security. If you qualify for benefits, it will not affect the amount of benefits you or your ex receive.
But there are some requirements for both you and your ex:
- Your ex must be at least 62 and must qualify for Social Security.
- You must be unmarried and at least age 65.
- You and your ex’s marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.
If you or your former spouse worked between 30 and 39 quarters, your monthly premium will run about $260 in 2021.
If you or they worked less than 30 quarters, your monthly premium will run about $470 this year.
What happens if I remarry?
If you remarry and your ex-spouse is still living, your former marriage will not factor into the calculation of your Part A premiums.
If you remarry and your ex passes away, you will still qualify for free Part A on your ex’s record–but only if your remarriage took place after you turned 60.
I’ve been married and divorced more than once–what now?
For Medicare purposes, you may qualify for free Part A from only one ex-spouse if you’ve been married and divorced multiple times. But, you must be currently unmarried to qualify.
What about Medicare Part B?
Generally, if you have Part A, you also must buy Part B (which covers doctor visits, ambulance and outpatient medical care, mental health care, medical equipment and preventative care). If you don’t qualify for free Part A, you must sign up for Part B in order to buy Part A.
In most cases, if you didn’t get Part B when you were first eligible, you’ll pay a late enrollment penalty in the form of higher monthly premiums.
However, if you had group healthcare coverage or retiree coverage through your ex’s employer prior to your divorce, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to get Part B coverage for yourself after your divorce–without having to pay the late enrollment penalty.
As you can see, Medicare can be quite confusing on its own. Add in a divorce (and all the emotions that come with it) and it’s easy to see how former spouses can make the wrong choices. One of our advisors would be able to help you figure out what the right choice is for your financial situation. Click here to get started by requesting a no-cost, no-obligation conversation.