Turning 65? Don’t Make These Medicare Mistakes
Turning 65? You are not alone...about 10,000 Americans are turning 65 everyday between now and 2030. In addition to celebrating this important milestone, I would encourage you to start (if you haven't already) thinking about Medicare. This is very important because if you miss key deadlines, you may face gaps in coverage and financial penalties that last your entire life.
This will help get you started on the right path:
1. Some people get Medicare automatically, and some have to sign up. You may have to sign up if you’re 65 (or almost 65) and not getting Social Security. The Medicare website is actually a really great starting point and wealth of information.
2. There are certain times of the year when you can sign up or change how you get your coverage (usually October 15th to December 7th unless you are eligible for special enrollment).
3. If you sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you can avoid a penalty. There are some exceptions here. If you are still working, the size of your employer determines whether you may be able to delay Part A and Part B without having to pay a penalty if you enroll later. Talk with your benefits manager to see if this applies to you.
4. You can choose how you get your Medicare coverage.
5. You may be able to get help with your Medicare costs.
If you'd like more information on signing up, be sure to listen to our podcast with Dr. John Luo, MD. of Doctors Choice USA. He is a great resource here in Rhode Island whose sole focus is helping you choose the right Medicare coverage.
Now that you know when you should sign-up, let's talk about the big fork in the road: Advantage vs. Supplement.
Not everything is covered under Medicare (i.e. long-term care, hearing aids, etc.). To fill the gaps in coverage, you will apply for additional coverage consisting of an Advantage or Supplemental Plan. Choosing the right plan doesn’t need to be difficult as long as you ask yourself the right questions.
"Medicare Representative to Caller: I'm just going to ask you a few questions to transfer you to the right department. They will ask you the exact same questions and be of no help."
If ALL of the below statements sound like you, an Advantage Plan would make sense. However, if one or more of the below statements are false, a Supplemental Plan is most likely the better fit.
- I usually see my doctor once a year.
- I am not managing a chronic medical condition.
- I receive all my care close to home.
- If I was diagnosed with a serious condition, I would still receive care close to home.
- Money will be tight in retirement.
- I value cost savings over medical peace of mind.
Overall, if funding a Supplemental Plan is feasible I would recommend doing so, as it provides the most flexibility and broadest coverage.
As always, I am happy to review your plans for Medicare and discuss how this fits into your overall financial plan. If you would like to book a meeting, please use my scheduling link below.