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Turning 65 and Enrolling in Medicare

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, September 30, 2015

If you are about to turn 65, then not only is your birthday coming up, but it’s time to start thinking about making the switch to Medicare. Knowing what you need to do can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the basics of what you’ll need to know:

What to Expect

If you are already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare. Your Medicare card will be sent to you three months before your 65th birthday. If not, you will need to apply for Medicare. Medicare will not send you a notice on when or how to do so.

Important Things you Should Know

  • Medicare can be broken up into four different parts:
    • Part A – (Hospital Insurance) Covers services associated with hospital, hospice, skilled nursing care, and home health care.
    • Part B – (Medical Insurance) Covers costs outside of medical facilities like doctor’s visits, outpatient procedures, lab tests, and medical equipment. Preventative care is also covered in this plan.
    • Part C – (Often referred to as Medicare Advantage) Medicare Part A and B will not cover all of your medical costs. Part C plans are Medicare approved plans offered by private insurance companies that will help fill in these gaps in coverage.
    • Part D – (Medicare prescription drug coverage) Covers prescription drug coverage through private insurance companies.
  • Medicare can be used as your primary health insurance coverage or it can be used as additional coverage if you already have health insurance through your current employer, a spouse’s employer, a former employer or a union.
    • You do not need to enroll in a Medicare Part B plan, which has a monthly premium, if you already have health insurance. Medicare Part A typically has no premium and anyone who is over 65, has worked 10+ years, and has paid Medicare can enroll.

What You Need to Do

  • You’ll have a 7 month enrollment period to sign up. This is 3 months before, the month of, and 3 months after your 65th
    • If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period you can sign up the following year between January 1st and March 31st but you will have to pay a higher premium as a late fee. Your late coverage would begin July1st.
  • Talk to an agent to go over your options and find out what is most cost effective for you and your family. Medicare plans can be tailored to fit your budget and health needs, so make sure you are getting the most for your money!

Brokers with Applied General Agency offer personalized Medicare assistance at no cost. Contact an agent today to schedule an appointment. Remember that the open enrollment period is from October 15 – December 7, 2015.

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