What You Need to Know Before Turning 65
Every day, about 10,000 people turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Considering how large and complex the program can be, it would be wise to begin learning about your options well before it is time to enroll. So if you’re set to turn 65 sometime this year, pay attention to the following facts.
First, know whether you’re required to enroll. Most people are required to enroll in Medicare upon turning 65, or face higher premiums later. However, if you’re still covered by an employer’s healthcare plan, this requirement can be waived until you no longer have that coverage.
You might still wish to enroll in Part A, since it is free for most people and can serve as coinsurance along with your current plan. Others choose to delay that coverage. These are issues to discuss with your insurance broker or human resources department at work.
You have seven months to enroll. Your enrollment window actually begins three months before the month in which you turn 65. Then it extends for that entire month, and lasts for three months afterward. You can enroll at any time during this window, but we suggest you get started early.
Medicare is not just one, single healthcare plan. Original Medicare, composed of Parts A and B, is run by the federal government. Medicare Advantage plans are designed and administered by private health insurance providers, and must meet certain standards. You can enroll in Original Medicare or select an Advantage plan.
Medicare does not necessarily cover everything you will need. Original Medicare does not cover services such as dental, hearing, or vision. It also does not cover prescription drugs (although you can enroll in a separate Part D plan, which is designed for drug coverage). Many Advantage plans do offer coverage for prescriptions, along with dental, vision, and hearing. But each plan is a bit different, so it pays to shop around.
Some programs help with the cost of Medicare. If you need help with Medicare premiums, some programs offer assistance:
- The Medicare Savings Program
- Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
- Extra Help
It’s important to begin weighing your options now, so that you’re familiar with the various programs available to you when it’s time to enroll. Give us a call to discuss your options, and we will help you learn more about your future Medicare benefits and options.