Your 65th birthday is a great reason to stop and celebrate. For many people, this birthday marks a milestone in life—with retirement, we look back at everything we’ve accomplished and we make plans for how to spend the years ahead. Our 65th birthday used to be when the majority of the country retired, as that’s when you can officially enroll in Medicare and get a portion of your health insurance covered by the government. Today’s working landscape is a bit different than years past, and it’s important for everyone to understand what actions you need to take around your 65th birthday to ensure you’re set for success.
- Your birthday determines when you are eligible to enroll in Medicare. Every person has an initial election period (IEP). There are a few qualifications that allow someone to enroll in Medicare before their 65th birthday, but generally you are eligible to enroll in Medicare the three months leading up to your 65th Read more about Medicare eligibility here.
- Around 65, you become eligible for Medicare A, B, C, and D. During your IEP, you must first enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). You must also enroll in a prescription drug plan (Part D) to avoid any penalties.
- Normally you take action during your IEP, unless you plan to continue working. If you have employer coverage and do not need Medicare coverage right away, you may decide to go ahead and enroll in Medicare coverage when you are eligible. In other cases, it may make more sense to defer your enrollment, provided you have creditable health and prescription coverage in place. Contact us for more information about whether you should enroll in Medicare or defer your coverage based on your unique situation.
- If you’re not continuing to work, failure to enroll in Medicare Part B or Part D can result in lifelong penalties. If you fail to enroll in Medicare during your IEP, it’s possible that you can and will receive late-enrollment penalty fees. These feeds are typically a percentage of your Medicare premium when you do decide to enroll, and they remain on your account for life.
- Medicare isn’t free, and you should be aware of upcoming health insurance expenses. Medicare publishes costs for plan premiums each year, which can be a great guideline for determining your health insurance budget. The number of options available to you can be overwhelming, and it’s highly recommended to sit with a trusted health insurance advisor to understand the plans that are available to you and the costs associated with those plans.
For more information about what turning 65 means for you and Medicare, contact Vince Homan Insurance. We help people sort out the confusion and find the right plan that will work—plus we can help you avoid those lifelong penalties and late-enrollment fees. It’s worth the call!