Save for retirement. That’s advice you’ll hear repeatedly as you start your career. You’ll need a nest egg to retire on. With that in mind, you work hard to save money for your retirement. A time that seems so far away that you’re not sure it will ever happen.

Fast forward forty years to your 65th birthday and you’re actually ready to retire! Now what?

No, I’m not talking about scheduling weekly shuffleboard or backgammon games, I’m referring to your health insurance. What should you do when you’re 65, ready to retire, and in need of health insurance?

Do I Need Medicare?

Most people are eligible for Medicare after they reach age 65, some even qualify under the age of 65. But just because you qualify for Medicare, does that mean you need it?

The answer largely relies on your marital and financial situation. You might be in a position to purchase health insurance on your own and not need Medicare. Or you might have a spouse that has a company health insurance policy that covers you as well.

There are plenty of Americans that have Medicare as well as a secondary form of health insurance. A secondary insurer will pay for health care expenses after the primary insurance has paid. If your healthcare costs are high, Medicare might not cover all your needs. In this case, it’s important to have secondary health insurance to help cover the gap between your coverage and costs.

We’ve written about the difference between Medicare Advantage Prescription Drugs Plan (MAPD) and Medicare Supplement Insurance, but if you’d like more detailed information specific to your case, a qualified health insurance agent will be able to answer your questions.

How Do I Enroll in Medicare?

Whether or not you need to enroll in Medicare depends on if you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits. If you are receiving either of these, then you automatically become enrolled in in both Medicare Part A and Part B.

There aren’t any additional steps you need to take, once you hit 65 you’ll be enrolled in Parts A and B and mailed a package 90 days before your 65th birthday. This package will explain your benefits.

Your Part B benefits do come with a monthly premium. Therefore you have the option to turn down Part B. Unless you have a private insurance policy, it’s best that you keep Part B.

If you’re not currently receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, then you’ll need to enroll yourself in Medicare. To do so, you’ll need to contact your local social security office. If you’d like more help with your medical options as you age, there are health insurance agents who are equipped to answer your questions directly.

When Americans need health insurance the most, as they age, the vast majority of them are no longer eligible for employer benefits (retirement). Therefore, programs like Medicare are extremely important for adults over the age of 65. Understanding Medicare, what it covers, and how to enroll will help adults as they age and are ready for health insurance.

Image Courtesy of Jeff Sheldon

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