Turning 65: Getting Ready For Medicare

HealthCare Writer

Updated on July 17th, 2024

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Reaching age 65 is a big deal because it means you’re now eligible for Medicare. This change brings a bunch of new benefits and decisions to think about, making sure you’re covered health-wise in your later years. It’s important to get the lowdown on Medicare, like who can get it, what it might cost you, and how to sign up, so you’re all set for this next chapter.

Who Can Get Medicare

For most individuals, Medicare starts at 65. You’re in if you or your spouse have worked and paid into Medicare for 10 years or more. Some people under 65 can also get Medicare if they have certain disabilities or conditions like End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

What It Costs

Medicare has different parts that cover various health needs.

Part A (Hospital Insurance) is usually free if you’ve paid enough Medicare taxes.

Part B (Medical Insurance) has a monthly premium that changes based on how much you make.

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Other costs, like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, vary depending on what services you use and if you have additional coverage.

Signing Up

Signing up for Medicare isn’t automatic for everyone. If you’re already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you’ll automatically get Medicare Parts A and B. If not, you’ve got a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) around your 65th birthday—3 months before, the month of, and 3 months after—to sign up. If you miss this period, you might face penalties and a delay in coverage. For those looking for additional benefits, Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) can have sign-up times outside of IEP.

Next Steps

As you approach 65, it’s crucial to understand Medicare and your enrollment options. Start by confirming your eligibility and reviewing the costs associated with Medicare Parts A and B. Plan to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid penalties and ensure timely coverage. Explore additional benefits through Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) if needed. Taking these steps now will help secure comprehensive health coverage for your future.

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