Many people imagine that once they reach age 65, choosing a healthcare plan becomes as simple as signing up for Medicare once. Then, they believe they won’t ever have to think about it again. Unfortunately, that scenario doesn’t exactly match up with reality. But if you mark these dates on your calendar and plan around them, making decisions regarding healthcare doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
Your original enrollment period… You will become eligible for Medicare three months before the month in which you turn 65. This period extends for that entire month, and then for three months afterward. You must sign up for Medicare during this time, if you don’t want to face a late enrollment penalty later (in the form of higher premiums for the rest of your life).
Those who have already claimed their Social Security benefits will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B (or Original Medicare) when they turn 65. But if you have yet to claim Social Security, you need to remember to take this step on your own.
If you continue to work past age 65… Make sure you sign up for Medicare within eight months of leaving your group health insurance plan, or within eight months of leaving the job, in order to avoid the penalty.
Every year, you will make decisions during an enrollment period… The Annual Election Period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. During this time, you can switch from Original Medicare to an Advantage plan, from an Advantage plan back to Original Medicare, or from one Advantage plan to another.
You can change your mind… If you enroll in an Advantage plan and change your mind for any reason, you can change plans from January 1 to March 31 each year.
If you have questions about your Medicare coverage, enrollment periods, or the different plans available to you, give us a call. We can help you compare your options and know what to expect from your healthcare plan in retirement.