So, you’re turning 65 soon. You’ve come a long way in life and have gained valuable wisdom and experiences in life. However, making decisions about Medicare may not seem straightforward- with all the choices, getting set up can be a bit intimidating. That is where having a local insurance agent can be valuable. Here at Choice City Health, we have made a full-time job of working with folks either turning 65 or preparing to retire and start Medicare. We’ve created a simple-to-understand Medicare checklist for turning 65 for those who are new to Medicare
As a reminder, Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides benefits for those older than 65, under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of all ages with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis, or a kidney transplant.
There are four parts to Medicare coverage: A, B, C and D (learn more about this here). We suggest that you start considering the following information 6 months prior to turning 65 so that you do not miss any deadlines that could cause increased costs and other consequences moving forward.
Medicare Checklist #1: Insurance Prior to 65
Depending on if and/or what type of health insurance you’re enrolled in before turning 65, your deadline to sign up for Medicare will differ. For example, if you are drawing your Social Security benefits before 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare part A and B. However, you have the right to turn down part B if you do not want it, and that could save you a lot of money if you don’t need it.
If you aren’t collecting Social Security by 65 or you’re using your company’s insurance, then it’s up to you to manually sign up for Medicare. The Federal Government will not alert you of any deadlines and missing one could lead to higher premiums and even declined coverage based on your health. Our team of insurance advisors can help you with your Medicare checklist and understanding all the options and deadlines you need to know so that you can make the right choice for you without being penalized.
#2: Learn Your Deadlines
Over 760,000 Medicare enrollees are paying enrollment penalties – don’t let yourself be added to the list. These penalties don’t go away, but can be avoided by meeting deadlines.
Don’t be hard on yourself for not knowing deadlines – you’re not alone. If you’re not collecting Social Security before 65, the government won’t notify you regarding the deadlines (as of 2016, 40% of citizens aren’t claiming SS by 65).
Researching deadlines or meeting with a professional Medicare advisor is key for your Medicare checklist for turning 65 if you want to avoid irreversible penalties.
#3: Understand Your Options
Medicare has four parts: A, B, C, and D. They all involve different things: hospital care, medical care, Medicare Advantage, and drug coverage. If you start collecting early social security retirement while you’re working and have employer coverage, you may be automatically enrolled in part B without necessarily needing it or if you’re on an employer plan and miss a deadline to sign up for part C or D.
Understanding all your options and what they entail will help you make the best-educated decision for your lifestyle (and wallet). Putting this off could lead to unnecessary stress and costs that you’ll carry with you. We hope that this Medicare checklist is a helpful guide to get you started.
Meeting with a Medicare Advisor will ensure that you are prepared, relaxed, and confident when it comes time for you to sign up. Choice City Health doesn’t charge any fees and is paid directly by the insurance carriers we represent. Our mission is to help you have a seamless experience that will give you all the tools and support a smooth transition into Medicare.
#4: Refer to Our Medicare Checklist
Use Choice City Health’s actionable checklist below to make sure that your transition into Medicare is as stress-free as possible. The key is being prepared – you got this! If you have any questions or are looking to make the most confident choice in your plan, contact us at 970-407-9399 today for a free consultation. We look forward to meeting you.
7-10 months before your 65th birthday:
1. Review your current health plan
2. Visit the Social Security Administration website (or call) to confirm your eligibility
4-6 months before your 65th birthday:
1. Check with your health providers to see if they accept medicare
3. Get cost estimates for part B
4. Get quotes for Medicare supplement insurance and learn about Medicare Advantage
5. Understand the enrollment periods to avoid penalties
3 months before your 65th birthday:
1. Continue to utilize your Medicare advisor as a resource to answer questions
2. Enroll in Medicare part A. If you’re claiming Social Security, you should get your Medicare card in the mail
3. Decide if you want to enroll in part B and/or C & D
4. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your benefits knowing that you have made the right choice.