| Tue, Jan 21, 2020 @ 08:00 AM

6 Timely Medicare Tips for Turning 65

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Medicare eligibility begins at age 65 for most people. If you are turning 65 soon, you are next up to join the ranks of Medicare beneficiaries. Here’s what you need to know to get prepared.

1. You Have a Set Time to Enroll in Medicare

The first time you can enroll in Medicare is called your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your Initial Enrollment Period is 7 months long. It includes:

  • The 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • The month you turn 65
  • The 3 months after the month you turn 65

You can find your IEP dates here. For most people, this is the best time to sign up for Medicare. Signing up for Medicare coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period can help you avoid late enrollment penalties.

2. You May Be Able to Delay Medicare Part B

Most people get Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premium-free because they or a spouse worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years. Part B (medical insurance) has a monthly premium that for 2020 is $144.60 to $491.60, depending on income.

You may be able or want to delay signing up for Part B if you have other health care coverage, such as through an employer or union. You must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to avoid a late enrollment penalty if you delay Part B. If you have coverage through an employer, you may also choose to delay enrolling in Part A, especially if you still want to contribute to a health savings account (HSA).

Learn more about your options if you are still working when turning 65 in this video.

3. There Are Two Ways to Get Medicare

Medicare gives you two ways to get your benefits:

  • Original Medicare (Parts A & B), the traditional way
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C), an alternative to Original Medicare

Original Medicare is administered by the federal government. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They must provide all the same benefits as Original Medicare Parts A and B. Many Medicare Advantage plans include additional benefits, such as coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, fitness and more.

4. Medicare Doesn’t Cover Prescription Drugs, Dental and More

Original Medicare doesn’t include coverage for prescription drugs and other health items. To get prescription drug coverage, you may either buy a standalone prescription drug plan (Part D) or choose a Medicare Advantage plan with included drug coverage.

Watch this video for more on what Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

Generally, you don’t need additional coverage if you choose a Medicare Advantage plan as most come with prescription drug coverage included.

5. Do I Need a Medicare Supplement Plan?

 Some people who choose Original Medicare and a Part D prescription drug plan may also choose to buy a Medicare supplement insurance plan (Medigap). Medigap plans help with some of the out-of-pocket costs not paid by Original Medicare. It is important to note that Medigap plans do not provide additional coverage items, and you cannot have both a Medigap and Medicare Advantage plan.

Learn more about Medigap plans in this video, and then click here to learn more about costs and how coverage can work.

6. You May Qualify for Help with Medicare

Several programs offer financial assistance with Medicare premiums and other costs. You may want to look into them, even if you think you might not be eligible.

Programs include:

  • Medicaid
  • The Medicare Savings Program
  • Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
  • Extra Help

Other programs may be available in your state as well, and you should check with your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office to learn more.

Conclusion

Don’t let Medicare enrollment sneak up on you. Use these 6 tips and get a head start on learning the basics about Medicare so you can make an informed decision when the time comes. And to stay up to date, get Medicare news and information delivered right to your inbox.

For more information about Medicare, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

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