Medicare Initial Enrollment: What You Need to Know When You Turn 65
If you’re turning 65 this year, you will face some important decisions. Are you ready to retire? Are you planning to claim your Social Security benefits yet? And what about Medicare enrollment? Do you have to enroll now, or can you wait? And which type of Medicare plan should you choose?
We can help with those Medicare questions. Here’s what you need to know if you’re about to turn 65, and you’re facing your initial enrollment period.
Most people must enroll at age 65. If you don’t enroll on time, you could face higher premiums – for the rest of your life – when you finally do enroll. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If you’re still working and covered by a group healthcare plan, or if your spouse is still working and you’re covered under their plan, you might not have to enroll just yet. The size of your employer is the deciding factor. If your company employs more than 20 people, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare. But some people still choose to, and allow their Medicare plan to serve as a supplementary plan to their main coverage.
You have seven months to enroll. Your initial Medicare enrollment window starts three months before your birthday month, lasts for the entire month of your birthday, and then extends for three months afterward. But we do recommend that you get an early start on the enrollment process, so that you have time to learn about all of your options and make an informed decision.
Medicare isn’t one-size-fits-all. You might be amazed at how many options Medicare provides to beneficiaries. You can choose Original Medicare, which is composed of Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (general coverage). And if you go with Original Medicare, you might also add a Part D (prescription) plan or a Supplement plan (to help you manage your out-of-pocket expenses).
Or, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, which combines Part A and Part B into one convenient plan based upon a network of providers. Many Advantage plans also include Part D coverage and even things like vision and dental care.
And finally, some Special Needs plans are geared toward specific medical conditions. Choosing the right Medicare plan can help you access care geared toward your particular needs.
As you might imagine, sorting through your Medicare enrollment options will entail a series of decisions. Call us before you turn 65 so that we can answer your questions and help you sort through all of your options. Help is always free, so you might as well take full advantage of an expert’s guidance.