With about 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day between now and 2030, the question of “when I turn age 65, what do I need to know about Medicare?” becomes prominent.
Age 65 and Medicare go together like peanut butter and jelly. And here’s the information you need to know:
Note: We know Medicare can be confusing. If at any time you have questions, we have licensed agents who will help you, free of charge. Call us at 888-654-3129 ext. 3.
You become eligible for Medicare at age 65, and you do not want to delay enrolling, as that could result in penalties.
Your enrollment steps will vary depending on if you are already collecting retirement benefits:
Note: some eligible people turn down Part B (outpatient doctor coverage) because they are still working or otherwise still covered by an employer’s plan, or are on their spouse’s coverage, or similar. This may or may not be a mistake, because you could incur a penalty if you sign up later. Call us at 888-654-3129 ext. 3 if you want a second opinion.
There’s a seven-month window to enroll, all based on your 65 th birthday. This window is called your “Initial Enrollment Period” (IEP). You can enroll anytime in this 7-month window.
The enrollment period is 3 months before your 65 th birthday month, your birthday month when you turn age 65, then three months after your 65 th birthday month.
The date your Medicare coverage begins depends on when you sign up.
During your IEP (explained above), you can enroll in Medicare the following ways:
Note: If you are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits, you can enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or contacting your local RRB office.
Nobody is perfect, and records can sometimes be misplaced, so keep receipts, names, etc. This will help protect you from incurring a Part B penalty if your application or information is lost.
As we stated earlier, if you do not sign up for Part B during your IEP, then you will be subject to a penalty when you do sign up. The penalty can be up to 10 percent for each 12-month period that you could have had Medicare Part B, but did not take it. In addition, you will have to wait for the general enrollment period to enroll. The general enrollment period usually runs between January 1 and March 31 of each year.
Medicare offers prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D. We go over it in greater detail here.
In terms of enrollment at age 65, if you are not going to sign up for an optional Medicare Advantage (Part C, detailed here) plan with prescription drug coverage, then you will very likely want to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan. That’s because like Part B, there is a penalty, which is 1% for every month you delay enrollment past the initial enrollment period. However, you are exempt from these penalties if you did not enroll because you had prescription drug coverage from another insurer (such as a job’s, or a retirement plan or similar). The catch is this plan needs to be at least as good as Medicare’s (a distinction known as “creditable coverage”). Your provider will know if their coverage is considered “creditable”.