Those of you who are set to turn 65 this year are likely aware that you are reaching the age of Medicare eligibility. But enrolling in Medicare will involve a series of decisions which require careful contemplation. Here’s what you need to know before your initial Medicare enrollment window opens.
You might not be required to enroll. Most people will enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. But those who are still employed by a company employing more than 20 people, and participating in a group healthcare plan, can delay their enrollment until that coverage ends someday. The same rule applies to spouses who are enrolled in the plan.
But you might choose to anyway. Even if you’re not required to enroll in Medicare due to your current healthcare coverage, you can choose to do so anyway. Medicare will serve as supplemental coverage, possibly helping to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you are required to enroll, make sure to do it on time. Those who fail to enroll in Medicare when they’re required to do so will face higher premiums when they enroll later. Your enrollment window begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday, lasts for that entire month, and then extends for three months afterward.
You will face a number of decisions. You can enroll in Original Medicare, comprised of Medicare Parts A and B, and you will pay a premium for Part B coverage (most people with enough work credits will receive Part A coverage for free). If you go this route, you might also wish to add a Part D (prescription) plan or a Supplemental (Medigap) plan.
Alternatively, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, which is run by a private health insurance company according to standards set forth by Medicare. This plan is organized around a network of providers, and often includes other benefits such as prescription drug coverage.
You can access help for free. Brokers who specialize in Medicare plans can help you sort through your options, and there is never a fee for receiving this help. Just give us a call to speak with a licensed agent as your Medicare enrollment window approaches. We’ll help you understand the ins and outs of the Medicare system and guide you toward the plan or plans that suit your needs.