As my children grow older, it seems life moves a little faster each year. In a couple of years, both my children will have left the nest for college and my husband and I will, we hope, have a few years before they possibly move back in. Before I know it, my 50’s will be behind me and the golden years of 60’s and retirement / medical decision-making will be upon me. By this time, I’ll realize there are some additional benefits to growing older:
Even though you are not eligible for Medicare until you are 65, the process is similar to electing a new congressman or senator. About a year in advance, usually around your 64th birthday, your mail and phone calls will change. Instead of getting mail and calls about who to vote for, you will be inundated with mail and calls from health care insurers offering Medicare coverage. You can ignore these solicitations! The letter(s) you need to keep will come from Social Security and/or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These are the official letters regarding your ability to enroll in Medicare. You should receive the “Welcome to Medicare” package from CMS about 3 months prior to your 65th birthday.
Medicare can be confusing due to its different parts and different enrollment times. Initially, we want to make sure that you know you should sign up for Part A. Whether working or retired, you should enroll in Medicare Part A within three months of turning 65. The only reason you would not enroll in Part A at this time is if you are covered under a health insurance plan that is considered “credible coverage” AND you participate in a Health Savings Account. If you are already receiving Social Security, you will be enrolled automatically. If not, you must go online to www.medicare.gov and enroll. If you are covered by your or your spouse’s employer health insurance, you may have options regarding when you sign up for the additional parts of Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a great pamphlet entitled The Road to Medicare: Planning Your Drive Toward 65.
We know this can be a stressful time and want to reassure you that we are here to help. When you start receiving the letters and calls about Medicare, please reach out to us so that we can help you navigate the Medicare enrollment process. We will answer as many questions as we can and will help connect you with professionals we know and like who work with individuals like yourself who are applying for and learning about Medicare. If you prefer, we can set up an appointment to discuss Medicare and to review your investment accounts and financial goals. We look forward to hearing from you!
This information is believed to be accurate but should not be used as specific investment or tax advice. You should always consult your tax professional or other advisors before acting on the ideas presented here.