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What You Need to Know If You’re Aging Into Medicare

An elderly woman who is about to turn 65 reads how to prepare for aging into Medicare

Every day in the United States, 10,000 people turn 65—which means 10,000 people are newly eligible for Medicare. Even with the thousands of people turning 65 each day, there’s still a lot of confusion around preparing for Medicare, from enrollment to its coverage. Here’s what you need to know if you’re aging into Medicare. 

Tips for Those Aging into Medicare

As you prepare to enroll in Medicare, here are a few steps you can take ahead of time:

  • Make an account on the Social Security website: You’ll want to keep your Social Security login handy so you can track your Social Security benefit earnings, and also for when you enroll in Medicare. 
  • Talk with your financial advisor: Make sure you have a financial plan set up for your retirement so you understand not only your Social Security benefits but also what you can afford for various expenses, including medical, in retirement. 
  • See if you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A: You qualify for premium-free Part A as long as you have paid payroll taxes for at least 10 years. 
  • Determine when you’ll need Part B: If you’re still covered by your employer’s health plan, you won’t need to sign up for Part B until you retire. As long as your employer’s coverage meets Medicare’s minimum requirements, you can delay Part B enrollment. 
  • Figure out what doctors you want to see when you have Medicare: Make sure your preferred doctor accepts Medicare. If you enroll in supplemental coverage, you’ll want to make sure your doctor is in your plan’s network. 
  • Understand the gaps in Original Medicare: Medicare Part A and Part B only cover about 80% of your medical expenses, so you may need to elect supplemental coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan.

Timeline for Aging into Medicare: When You Should Start Preparing

  • Six months before you turn 65: If you’re not already receiving Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Administration to confirm if you are eligible for Medicare. If you’re retiring, talk to your employer about retiree benefits. If you’re not retiring, you may be able to keep your employer’s health plan.
  • Three months before you turn 65: Three months before the month of your 65th birthday, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you’re not yet receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll have to enroll yourself. 
  • Three months after you turn 65: Your Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you continue to work past 65, there is a Special Enrollment Period that will give you the opportunity to enroll and make changes to your Medicare plan. 

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