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Medicare Turning 65 Checklist

Well, you’re almost 65 ─ it’s time to think about Medicare enrollment. We’ve made a checklist of key steps to consider so everything goes smoothly.

Three Months Before Turning 65

☑ Start Educating Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the basics of Medicare:

  • Part A helps when you stay in the hospital.
  • Part B is for doctor visits.
  • Part C is Medicare Advantage which combines A, B, and sometimes more.
  • Part D prescription drug coverage helps pay for medicines.

Compare the benefits, costs, and coverage options to determine what best aligns with your needs.

☑ Check Your Eligibility: Ensure you’re eligible for Medicare based on age or certain qualifying conditions.

☑ Evaluate Current Coverage: Plan for transition. If you have creditable coverage through a health plan (e.g., through work or a private insurer), review its terms and coverage to determine how it might change when you become eligible for Medicare. If you’re leaving a job that provides health insurance, understand how your current coverage will change and when it will end.

☑ Consider Timing: Decide when you want to enroll in Medicare. If you’re ready when you turn 65, that’s great. But if you have another creditable insurance, you can wait and save the cost of Part B premiums. If you’re not automatically enrolled, you may need to sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid potential late enrollment penalties. You have 7 months to do it – 3 months before your birthday month and 3 months after. This is the time for many people to enroll in Medicare without facing late enrollment penalties.

☑ Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B: You’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B if you’re already receiving Social Security benefits. Part A is automatic for many people, but you’ll need to sign up for Part B if you’re not receiving Social Security benefits. Most people enroll online through the Social Security Administration’s website.

☑ Choose your Medicare Path: Assess your medical needs. This will help you choose what type of Medicare coverage might be best for you. You can take Original Medicare or an Advantage Plan. If you have specific doctors or hospitals you prefer, verify that they accept the Medicare plan you’re considering.

If you choose Original Medicare, consider a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help cover out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t fully pay for.

☑ Prescription Drug Coverage: Gather a list of your prescriptions. Medicare offers two ways to help with those costs:

  • Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage included.
  • Standalone Part D prescription drug plans.

Either way, consider choosing a plan that covers your medications.

☑ Prepare for Costs: Understand the costs of Medicare. There are four kinds: premiums (like a membership fee), deductibles (how much you pay before Medicare helps), coinsurance (sharing the cost), and copayments (payments for each visit). Consider your budget and choose a plan that works best with your finances.

☑ Confirm Coverage Start Date: Make sure you know when your Medicare coverage will begin. If you’ve chosen Original Medicare, coverage usually starts on the first day of your birth month. If you’ve chosen a Medicare Advantage plan, coverage details may vary.

Turning 65 … and Beyond

☑ HAPPY BIRTHDAY … Welcome to Medicare: Make sure you have your Medicare card and understand how to use it.

☑ Review Your Coverage Annually: Medicare plans and your healthcare needs may change from year to year. Review your current plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) and consider whether it still meets your needs.

This checklist is a general guide to help individuals transition to Medicare at age 65. It’s important for individuals to consider their unique healthcare needs and finances, so take your time to research and make informed decisions. If you have any questions or need personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Medicare expert or broker for assistance.

Of course, you can talk with a helpful HEARTWISE agent anytime at 855-360-5263. Let’s answer your questions and simplify the process. We’re not just about Medicare health plans — we’re about you. After all, when it comes to your well-being, we’re in it for the long haul.

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