Why It’s Important To Review Your Medicare Options Before 65
You celebrate your 65th birthday; you sign up for Medicare; and you have medical coverage.
Sounds simple, right? Well, think again. Medicare instantly becomes as complex as your health and financial situation. For example:
- You or your spouse plan to continue working after you turn 65.
- You plan to travel when you retire.
- You are a government employee whose retirement health coverage covers doctors’ bills and prescription drugs.
- Your individual retirement income is more than $87,000 a year.
- You are a legal resident who has less than 40 Social Security credits.
Even if your situation is not one of those listed above, it is important to learn about Medicare and take time to plan for your retirement health coverage.
What is Medicare? It is a broad federal health insurance program designed to help people 65 and older and people under 65 with disability to meet hospital, medical, and other health costs. There are four parts to Medicare coverage: Part A (Hospital), Part B (Medical), Part D (Prescription Drug), and Part C (Medicare Advantage).
When you reach 65 and have retired or are about to retire, you should enroll in Medicare Part A. Depending on your situation, you may decide to enroll or delay signing up for Part B. This is when you need to start making choices and determine any consequences!
If you do decide not to delay your enrollment in Part B, then are you going to have to choose what types of supplemental insurance you will need.
- Original Medicare (Parts A & B) for your hospital and medical health coverage + Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan + Part D Prescription Drug plan, OR
- Part C Medicare Advantage (required enrollment in Parts A & B)
There are pros and cons to each coverage depending on your individual circumstances.
Once you decide which supplemental plan to enroll in, it will be difficult to switch plans. You may be subject to medical underwriting. Depending on your health, you may be denied enrollment, or you will be accepted at a higher premium and with restrictions.
So where can you go to get more information about Medicare and your individual needs?
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a supporting federal program designed to provide local, in-depth, and unbiased insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers.
Montgomery County SHIP is your local resource for all things Medicare.
We counsel and inform Montgomery County, Maryland Medicare-eligible residents about Medicare coverage and choices, costs, beneficiary rights, and programs to help those who do not have the financial resources to pay for their coverage.
Visit our website for Medicare information at www.MedicareABCD.org or contact us directly at (301) 255-4250 or SHIP@AccessJCA.org.
Made possible with a grant from U.S. Community for Living through the State of Maryland and Montgomery County. Montgomery County contracted with the Jewish Council for Aging to manage the Montgomery County SHIP program