Medicare Turning 65 Checklist
The reality is that for most people turning 65, the transition from the regular health care market to Medicare can be overwhelming. Here’s a Medicare checklist to avoid potential hassles and to help make Medicare easier for you.
1. Mark your calendar
Enrollment in Medicare is restricted to specific enrollment periods. When you turn 65, you have the longest enrollment time, known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This period includes the month of her 65th birthday, as well as the three months before and after her birthday, for a total of seven months.
Failure to enroll during this period can result in penalties and higher costs and can create a gap in your health care coverage. It is extremely important that you mark the start and end dates of this important enrollment window on your calendar as it is certainly guaranteed to complete enrollment during this time frame. If your birthday is, for example, April 15, you have January, February, March, April, May, June, and August to sign up. Ideally, enroll within the first three months so you are not late and your coverage begins on the first day of your birthday month.
2. Check the enrollment status of your Parts A and B
Some people are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Parts A and B. Some are not and must apply. Here is a brief overview to help determine if you can be enrolled.
If you will receive Social Security benefits before your initial enrollment period (4 months before your birthday): You may automatically enroll in Parts A and B, and you should receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your birthday .
If you will not receive Social Security benefits before your initial enrollment period: You may need to enroll in Medicare through the Social Security Administration.
(If necessary) Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B
If you need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B before your 65th birthday, you will need to apply through the Social Security Administration using one of these methods:
- Online at www.medicare.gov.
- In person at a local Social Security office (call ahead to make an appointment).
- By phone: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
If you have completed all of these steps and are successfully enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you will have basic Medicare coverage (Original Medicare) that may be enough for you. However, Original Medicare does not cover all health services and leaves a gap of 20% since it covers only 80% of medical and hospital services. We recommend the following steps to ensure you have coverage that meets all of your needs.
3. Make a list of doctors
One of the frustrations many people feel when making changes to their health care is that their doctors are not covered in their new health plan. So when you’re ready to review your Medicare options and choose a plan, make sure your doctor is covered by the plan you’ve decided to use. Not all doctors accept Medicare, and Medicare Advantage plans often have doctor networks. Having a list of your doctors on hand makes it easy to see if they will accept your new insurance. If you choose a Supplemental plan, you are free to visit any general practitioner or specialist across the country who accepts Medicare.
4. Make a recipe list
Each Medicare plan offers different coverage for prescription drugs, often on a list called a formulary. When evaluating plans for better coverage, it is extremely important that you shop around for prescription drug costs. Having a list ready will simplify this process and help you save money.
5. Investigate additional benefits
In addition to Original Medicare, you may want to join a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Prescription Drug plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans, for example, have extra benefits with no additional premiums. Plans are specific to your ZIP code and plan benefits and costs vary.
You can compare plans through our online portal The Avila Medicare Plan Store or call our toll free number 855-462-8452, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. at 5 p.m. central time. By communicating, you will have more information about the different plan options so you can make an educated decision regarding your health care.
If you find a plan that is right for you in addition to Original Medicare, be sure to enroll in that plan before your Initial Enrollment Period ends. Enrollment periods for these plans are also limited.
Do you have any questions?
Contact us at 855-GO-AVILA and speak with one of our authorized and certified agents.