Most of us expect that Medicare will provide for our healthcare needs in retirement. But most of us aren’t all that familiar with the exact provisions, out-of-pocket expenses, or the different plans available.
Since healthcare is one of the most significant expenses faced by retirees, you would be wise to start learning about Medicare and related costs now. Then, when you turn 65 and need to enroll, you can make an educated decision that supports your financial well being. Here are the basics that you need to know now.
Most people enroll at age 65. Eligibility begins when you turn 65, although your enrollment window begins three months before your birthday and lasts throughout your birthday month and then for three months afterward.
In most cases you should enroll at this time. Some people can defer their Medicare enrollment, because they or their spouse are still working and enrolled in a group health benefits plan. You can also opt for dual enrollment if this is the case, and Medicare will serve as a supplementary plan.
Otherwise, you’re required to enroll at 65, or pay higher premiums if you enroll later.
Enrollment follows one of two paths. Those who have already claimed Social Security benefits will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare at age 65. However, those who have not claimed Social Security will need to enroll themselves.
Also, those who prefer a Medicare Advantage plan, or want to add supplemental plans to Original Medicare, should consult with an insurance specialist about their options.
Since healthcare expenses will impact your overall budget, consider your Medicare options carefully. Let’s discuss these issues at your next appointment, so that we can analyze your retirement income and decide upon a budget that suits your needs.