Your Guide to Medicare Enrollment: Steps to Take as You Approach 65

Brendan Carberry

Medicare Specialist

Covered CA Certified Agent

Published August 19th, 2023

Turning 65 is a milestone that comes with a significant decision: If you’re nearing 65, it’s crucial to understand your Medicare options, a guide to help you navigate the Medicare enrollment process:

FIRST THING I RECOMMEND…..CALL ME! I CAN EXPLAIN IT ALL IN 15 MINUTES TO YOU AND POINT YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION….IF YOU DON’T PREFER THAT, THEN PLEASE READ BELOW 🙂

1. Go to the Social Security Administration office 3 months before you turn 65 and enroll into Part A and Part B. You cannot do anything before you complete that step. Online enrollment website:

https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib

-Once you enroll it will take 30 days to receive your medicare card in the mail. You cannot do anything until you receive your card.

-Once you receive your card with effective dates for part A and Part B, you should now CALL ME (855-937-4373 Brendan) or send me an email and I will call you immediately (brendan@bcbis.com).

 

2. Keep in mind that the government charges ALL seniors for medicare Part B. Right now it is $172 per month. This is essentially a tax, and will only go up in the future. 

3. Now you have essentially only 2 options (although you are receiving a million things in the mail to confuse you, they are all saying the same thing in a bunch of different ways). 

-HMO (also called the following: Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans, all in one plans) – these typically will not cost you very much and a lot of time include your prescription plan or Rx.   

-PPO (Medi-gap plans, supplement plans, and a million other things like, Plan G, K, F, N, etc, etc, etc) – these plans will cost additional and typically start at $100 per month (don’t forget the Part B tax of $172 from the government) and can go up to $150 per month. These plans DO NOT include Rx Drug plan, and will need to be added as well.

4. You have 3 months before your 65th birthday to get enrolled, and 3 months after your birth month.

5. If you have Covered California, you MUST cancel it. If you don’t you will be subject to potential large tax bills. CALL ME.

 

If you would like the typical confusing language about Medicare – please see below:

Learn About Medicare Parts Medicare consists of four parts:

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance): Covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care.

  • Part B (Medical Insurance): Covers outpatient care, preventive services, doctor visits, and some home health care.

  • Part C (Medicare Advantage): An alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B), offered by private insurance companies and includes both Part A and Part B coverage, and often Part D.

  • Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage): Helps cover the cost of prescription medications, offered by private insurance companies.

Determine Your Initial Enrollment Period Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes your birth month, and extends three months after your birth month. You have a total of seven months to enroll in Medicare.

Decide on Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage Choose between Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. If you opt for Original Medicare, consider adding a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy to cover out-of-pocket costs not covered by Parts A and B.

Sign Up for Medicare Part A If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A. If not, you can sign up online through the Social Security Administration website or visit your local Social Security office.

Enroll in Medicare Part B Enrollment in Part B is not automatic unless you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you’re not automatically enrolled, sign up through the Social Security Administration during your IEP.

Consider Medicare Part D If you want prescription drug coverage, enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. You can do this during your IEP by signing up through a private insurance company that offers Part D plans.

Explore Medigap Policies If you choose Original Medicare, you may want to buy a Medigap policy to cover out-of-pocket expenses. You can purchase a Medigap policy from a private insurance company during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which starts the month you turn 65 and lasts for six months.

Review and Compare Plans If you’re considering a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, compare available plans in your area using the Medicare Plan Finder tool. Consider factors such as premiums, deductibles, covered services, and provider networks.

Complete Your Enrollment Once you’ve made your Medicare choices, complete your enrollment. This may involve submitting applications online, over the phone, or in person, depending on the parts and plans you choose.

Mark Your Calendar for Annual Enrollment Each year, you’ll have the opportunity to review and change your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7). Mark your calendar and review your options annually to ensure your coverage meets your needs.

Conclusion Enrolling in Medicare is an important step as you approach 65. By understanding your options, taking timely action, and reviewing your coverage annually, you can ensure that you have the health care coverage you need as you enter this new chapter of your life.