For many people, switching from other types of health insurance to Medicare is one of the most important transitions into retirement. If you are about to turn 65, you will be eligible to sign up for Medicare, but the key here is to avoid some of the common mistakes that people often make when making the transition.
If you are ready to apply to Medicare, follow these tips from our independent insurance agents at McKnight & McKnight Insurance Solutions. We’ll make sure you get the right coverage!
Things to Remember:
- Open enrollment or add/change for Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug Plan benefits runs October 15th-December 7th
- Initial enrollment starts three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after
- If you wait to enroll you could face limited choices and higher premiums
What is Medicare?
Medicare coverage plays an important role to pay for medical costs as you age, and is the federal government’s health insurance plan for people aged 65 and older or younger people living with certain disabilities or illnesses.
Medicare benefits don’t pay for everything, which means you may have to purchase Part A, Part B, Part C, or Part D Medicare coverage to ensure that you are fully covered.
Each part offers specific coverages and will vary in cost:
- Part A covers hospitalization and related care
- Part B covers outpatient medical care and doctor’s visits
- Part C covers both Parts A and B but is offered by private insurance companies
- Part D covers prescriptions
Costs and coverage for Medicare Part A and B are the same nationwide. Medigap, Part D, and Medicare Advantage costs and coverage vary by state.
Overwhelmed by signing up for Medicare coverage? Not anymore! Call McKnight & McKnight and we will walk you through your care options and help you sign up for Medicare or Medigap (Medicare Supplement) coverage!
Medicare Enrollment Rules
The Medicare program requires enrollees to be at least 65 and a U.S. Citizen, or permanent legal resident for the past five years. Medicare is also available for people under the age of 65 who have a disability.
You can enroll in Medicare during the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday. Missing that window can trigger late-enrollment penalties as well as possibly expensive and long waits for coverage to start.
You can also sign up for Medicare or make adjustments to your current Medicare coverage during General Enrollment—October 15th-December 7th of each year.
Learn More> How to Select a Medicare Plan: Our Top 5 Tips
“New to Medicare? Check them out. Medicare questions can overwhelm most people. Bob explained plans and gave me direction to choosing one that fit me. Very professional and easy process when someone guides you. Plan in place and a wave of peace taken over. Fabulous!!”
– Client Brenda W.
Making the Switch to Medicare
If you receive Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you want to add Medicare Part D drug coverages, you will need to enroll yourself as this coverage is not automatic.
If you aren’t receiving social security benefits, you can enroll in the seven-month window surrounding your 65th birthday.
If you want Medicare Supplement Insurance, commonly known as Medigap, you can sign up during the six-month Medigap enrollment period, which begins the month you turn 65 and become enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Keep in mind that you can keep your current Affordable Care Act health plan until your Medicare coverage starts, and after Medicare coverage begins if you want. Just remember, if you keep both, you will be responsible for both the ACA plan and Medicare coverage costs and you won’t be eligible for premium tax credits or cost savings that you may have previously been eligible for.
With that in mind, if you didn’t have an ACA plan before, you can’t purchase one after you have enrolled in Medicare.
What If I am Actively Employed?
If you are actively employed when you turn 65, you can delay enrollment in Medicare as long as you are employed. The key to remember here is “actively.” If you have been laid off and are using COBRA coverage, this does not allow you to decline Medicare at age 65.
Health savings accounts are another twist to consider when transitioning from employer-supplied insurance to Medicare. HSAs can accept contributions only from people enrolled in high deductible plans, and Medicare does not meet these criteria.
Any contributions to an HSA account must stop six months prior to the effective date of your Medicare coverage to avoid tax penalties.
Enroll in Medicare
Now more than ever, it is crucial to have the coverage that you need while you age. If you are nearing age 65, it is important to understand your coverage options and the enrollment dates for Medicare.
That’s where our independent insurance agents at McKnight & McKnight Insurance Solutions can help! We will guide you through every step of the process and ensure that you have the coverage that you need/