Turning 65

Top 5 mistakes to avoid when you turn 65

Turning 65 is a milestone birthday to be celebrated. Don’t let these common mistakes slow your Medicare enrollment down or stick you with a life-long late enrollment penalty.

1) Do not wait until the last minute to enroll.

Many people believe that they can just pick up the phone and enroll into Medicare. It doesn’t quite work that way. Medicare is complex individual health insurance and there are many different plan options you can purchase with Medicare as well. Leave yourself enough time to do your homework, visit with a local agent and explore your options. This can eliminate the stress of enrollment into Original Medicare and allow you to choose a Medicare plan option that fits your individual needs.

2) You do not need Medicare because you are still working.

This is not always the case. It all depends on the size of your employer. If there are 20 or more people on your group plan and it is considered “Creditable Coverage” with Medicare, you won’t need to enroll. If there are 20 or less employees on the group plan, you will need to enroll in Original Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid late enrollment penalties.

3) You are choosing a plan because you were told it was the best.

Original Medicare Part A and Part B is the same benefits for all enrollees. The options you can purchase that work with Medicare can be different in every county. Take the time to review the plan benefits available in your specific area. There may be an option that works better for you than the plan you were told was the best one.

4) You do not take prescriptions so you don’t need Medicare Part D.

Even though you may not need prescriptions, you still will need Medicare Part D prescription coverage.  If you do not enroll in Part D coverage when you are eligible for Medicare, you may be penalized for life when you choose to enroll later. If you are going to continue to work past 65, check with your employer coverage to make sure you have creditable prescription coverage offered with your employer plan.

5) Find the right agent.

Medicare plans are sold by thousands of licensed insurance agents every day. Some just sell Medicare as an option for their clients, but don’t offer to assist after you’ve enrolled. Taking the time to ask questions and decided if the agent you are visiting with understands all of the plan options available in your area and offer assistance when you need it.