Are You Going On Medicare Soon?
Are You Turning 65 or Retiring Soon?
Whether you are turning 65 and are new to Medicare or retiring soon and your insurance is changing to Medicare as primary, there are some very important things to know that will help you make the transition easier.
You can enroll in Medicare 3 months prior to the month you turn 65. If you plan to work after you turn 65 and your employer has more than 20 employees you only need to enroll in Medicare Part A, and delay your enrollment in Medicare Part B. You can enroll in Medicare 1 of 3 ways; In person at your local Social Security Office, online through the Social Security Website( https://ssa.gov) or by phone @ 1-800-772-1213.
There is a lot of information to absorb when you are going on Medicare. I have found over the years that starting early is the best bet. If you are not continuing coverage under an employer group health plan, or you have individual coverage, then you can start looking at Medicare Supplement Insurance six months in advance of your Medicare part A and B effective date or retirement date. Many Medicare Supplement Insurance companies will let you apply up to six months prior to your Medicare enrollment. This is helpful because it is one piece of the puzzle you get out of the way ahead of time allowing you to focus on the other parts of enrollment when they approach. Another advantage is the rate becomes locked in at the time you apply regardless of any increases in premium between your application date and effective date. Most companies give a 12 month rate guarantee from the the effective date, which means you could have as much as an 18 month rate guarantee. If your employer offers supplemental insurance, Medicare will become primary when you retire. Be sure to compare the plan your employer is offering to what you can get on the private market.
Medicare Part D is the drug prescription benefit that is administered through private insurers. You can enroll in a Part D plan within 3 months of your Medicare enrollment or the month before you retire if you are losing your employer coverage. Refer to the Medicare and You Guidebook for details on the different election periods. Medicare has a free tool on their website that helps you find the best drug plan. Go to the Medicare website and select “find health & drug plans.” This will lead you through a step by step process to find the right plan for you.
The Medicare website has many publications that are available to help you make informed decisions. Please feel free to call me anytime if you need any help with your Medicare questions.