Are You Turning 65? What about Signing up for Medicare?

Many people say: “I never thought I would be 65”. Some are very happy because their insurance premiums and coverage options are decreasing dramatically and coverage options increase. However, many questions may arise such as when do I start signing up for Medicare? How do I enroll in Medicare Part B? People who are still working ask do they need to enroll in Medicare. If I do not enroll now, will I have a late enrollment penalty? If you have any of these questions, read on.

First, do you need to enroll in Medicare Part B? For people and their spouses who are working and covered by their employer group coverage with a company of 20 or more employees; you may wish to waive or not enroll in Medicare Part B now. You will need to talk with HR and confirm that the employer plan is creditable (under Medicare rules) and you do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B. If this is the case you should get qualified advice from Social Security or an organization like “Living By Your Design” (LBYD) for more information.

It is important to know: 1. you will have no penalties if you enroll correctly. 2. You MUST enroll timely when you or your spouse retires or employer coverage ends. It is wise to start this process two months prior to retirement. 3. COBRA is not considered creditable coverage.

You should to enroll in Medicare Part B if you continue to work past age 65 and work for a company of fewer than 20 employees. It’s always a good idea to ask HR. For more information contact the Social Security or www.SSA.gov or LBYD www.LivingByYourDesignInc.com.

For people who are retired or not covered by employer group coverage, you should apply for Medicare coverage. If you are already receiving Social Security retirement you should receive your Medicare card in the US mail about 90 days prior to Medicare eligibility.

At about 60 - 90 days from Medicare eligibility you should also gather information on your Medicare insurance options. You will have options of Medicare Advantage plans (MAs) which have networks and co-pays, much like group insurance, and usually have low premiums. Another option is a Medicare Supplement and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Standard Medicare Supplements allow you to see any medical provider who accepts Medicare, has little out of pocket costs for covered expenses, but has a higher premium. The important questions in determining which type of plan would meet your needs include: your desire to see specialists’ clinics such as Barnes. Your current healthcare needs and providers. Planned surgeries. Your desire for other services or programs that help pay for services not covered by Medicare.

This writer thinks it’s important to know all your options can look very good. All advertising and sales seminars are designed to sell insurance. It’s important that your personal needs and situation is discussed with a qualified professional. There is no “one size fits all plan”.

Therefore, each spouse may be best served by a different type of plan. For example, someone actively treating for cancer may be much better served by a Medicare Supplement. A relatively healthy person who has a good relationship with their primary care doctor and network may be better served by a MA plan. Remember: it is not a one size fits all.

So, you will have some homework to do when turning 65. You cannot afford a mistake here, but you also should systematically get through the aforementioned process to a plan that fits you. Resources include: www.Medicare.gov (not .com), Social Security and LBYD 309-285-8088. You may also wish to call our office with your questions.

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