Celebrate your 65th birthday, but take the time to address the following important issues:
1. Enroll in Medicare
a. You should apply for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, the period
that begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months
after the month of your 65th birthday. If you do not sign up for Medicare during
your initial enrollment period, you can still enroll for Medicare during the general
enrollment period. However, late enrollment penalties will apply.
b. Research and educate yourself about Medicare coverage and costs before you
apply. Understand that Medicare will not cover all your health-care costs.
i. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B
(medical insurance). You can add Part D (prescription drug coverage) and
Medigap (supplemental) insurance. Medigap coverage fills in some of the
gaps in Original Medicare. Part A is free for most participants, while Part
B and Part D premiums are based on income.
ii. Medicare Advantage (Part C) combines Part A, Part B, and
usually Part D. Medicare Advantage limits the network of providers, but
often offers additional benefits and charges lower premiums than Original
c. If you’re still working at age 65 and have health insurance through your
employer, you may want to wait until your special enrollment period to enroll.
This period begins depending on when you leave your job or when your group
health insurance coverage ends.