Human resources personnel are used to helping older employees transition into retirement. But now that baby boomers are retiring en masse, it seems to be happening all the time. In fact, as many as 10,000 baby boomers are putting in their retirement papers every single day, and while not all 10,000 will be in your company, you’ll probably be dealing with quite a few.
As all these boomers retire, your employee benefits package may need to undergo some changes and you may experience a shift in the cost of providing medical benefits as well. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind as the baby boomers on your staff begin to retire.
As your baby boomer employees near retirement age, some of their spouses might be a step ahead of them. The way employee benefits work with Medicare is sometimes complicated — especially when it comes to HSAs, which may be a major theme of the bulk of questions posed by those looking to retire. If your employees need to learn more about how to navigate Medicare, and if they should drop their spouse from your employer-sponsored coverage, make sure you’re as informed as possible regarding the regulations at hand before advising them.
A frequently asked question by those turning 65 concerns penalties. People who are still working and enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan aren’t likely to incur penalties for enrolling in Medicare late. However, it’s common for people turning 65 to enroll in Medicare Part A even if they’re still enrolled in their employer-sponsored program because it’s free (provided that the person has worked and paid into Medicare for at least ten years).
Retirement savings are on everyone’s mind these days, regardless of age or number of years in the workforce. Millennials are concerned they’ll never be able to retire, while baby boomers are choosing to delay retirement — in part because of employer demand for their expertise in the face of a low unemployment rate, but also because many of them haven’t sufficiently saved for retirement. In fact, according to Time’s Money division, 28 percent of boomers and seniors aged 55 and older don’t have any retirement savings whatsoever and just over half have less than $50,000 saved.
Even more surprising, the median amount Americans have saved for retirement is just $5,000, which means we have a long way to go in helping people prepare for their golden years. This number may seem staggeringly low — and it is. The average retirement savings among Americans age 32 to 61 is just under $96,000. However, averages are pulled up by super-savers, so this number seems artificially high.
With the prevalence of high deductible health plans (HDHPs), a lot of people are now enrolled in health savings accounts (HSAs). While people are mostly familiar with the short-term savings opportunities these accounts provide for healthcare expense reimbursement, many are also realizing that HSAs are a viable retirement savings option as well.
This begs the question — if people had to choose between investing in their 401(k) or maxing out their HSA for the year, which one is a better retirement savings option?
Around 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every single day, which means 10,000 more people become eligible for Medicare. If your human resources department hasn’t yet been inundated with questions from your older employees about Medicare eligibility, they will at some point — and soon.
After all, many boomers are choosing to work a bit longer than the standard retirement age of 65 for a variety of reasons — some are still physically able to work, so they’re taking advantage of it, others are trying to save more for retirement (because so many people haven’t saved nearly enough, if anything), and others just aren’t ready to give up their day jobs yet.
It’s possible that some of your employees have deferred Medicare eligibility because they haven’t actually retired yet, but some people who are still employed find it’s cheaper to take the leap into Medicare (and all its parts) than to stay on their employer-sponsored health plan (though many choose to enroll in both). That said, it’s not quite that cut and dry when it comes to those enrolled in health savings accounts (HSAs) through high deductible health plans (HDHPs).
Here are the things that need to be considered when an employee or covered spouse turns 65:
With the exception of those employees actively contributing to an HSA, there’s really no reason for them not to enroll in Part A, which covers hospitalization, home health care, care at nursing homes, and hospice care. As long as employees have worked and paid Medicare taxes during a minimum 10-year period of time (the period of time deemed long enough by the government), Medicare Part A comes premium-free (however, it does come with coinsurance). The situation gets a bit more complicated when employees who are ready to enroll in Medicare are also contributing to an HSA.