If youre approaching retirement at age 65, now is the time to learn the basics of Medicare at retirement. To take full advantage of Medicare at retirement, take time to study your the different options. The more you know, the better youll manage health care costs in your retirement years.
How to Enroll in Medicare at Retirement
Most people are eligible for Medicare at retirement at age 65. Medicare enrollment steps depend on whether you currently collect Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. If you receive either, Medicare enrollment is automatic. If you dont receive government benefits, you need to actively enroll in Medicare.
For automatic enrollment, three months before your coverage begins, the government mails your Medicare card and a letter explaining benefits.
If youre turning 65 but do not receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you need to actively enroll in Parts A and B. You have four options to start the process:
- Apply online at www.ssa.gov.
- Visit your local Social Security office.
- Call Social Security at (800) 772-1213.
- Mail a signed and dated letter to your local Social Security office. Include your name, Social Security number and the date you wish to enroll.
With benefits similar to private insurance companies, Medicare pays a portion of medical care costs, while enrollees pay deductibles and co-insurance. Basic Medicare includes Part A, hospital care, and Part B, medical care.
Medicare Part A, hospital insurance covers:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Home health care
- Hospice care
Medicare Part B, medical care, covers:
- Services from doctors and other health care providers
- Emergency room care
- Outpatient care
- Home health care
- Durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, etc.
- Many preventive services like wellness visits, shots, screenings, etc.
Medicare Part D, prescription drug insurance:
Medicare Parts A and B do not include prescription coverage. To offset out-of-pocket costs, many people enroll in Part D, offered through private insurance companies.
Understand Your Medicare Options
You select either Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, which offers wider options. Consider what kind of coverage you need before you enroll. Compare the two options:
- You choose any doctor who accepts Medicare.
- In most cases you dont need a referral to a specialist.
- Usually you pay a deductible and then 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for medical services.
- You pay a monthly premium for Part B, medical care.
- Pay outright for prescription drugs.
- No yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)
- Medicare Advantage (MA) plans replace Part A and Part B benefits.
- You select doctors within the network.
- You may need a referral to a specialist.
- Premiums and costs vary among plans for co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles, so its important to compare plans in your area.
- MA plans have an annual limit on out-of-pocket costs.
- MA plans usually include prescription drug coverage, so you dont need to enroll in Medicare Part D.
- Some plans cover eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- There are options for routine dental care, including x-rays, cleaning and cavity repair.
- Some plans cover hearing services, including hearing aids.
- Insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage must follow Medicare rules.
Turn to SelectQuote for Help Make Your Medicare Decision
With so many important decisions to make about Medicare, its not easy to decide which plans cover your present and future health needs.
SelectQuotes licensed agents specialize in Medicare and understand the marketplace. They help you sort through alternatives, so you can make the right choice. If you decide to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan or Prescription Drug plan, they shop dozens of independent insurance companies, ensuring you great coverage at affordable rates.
Contact a licensed SelectQuote agent today to get expert Medicare enrollment advice.