I’m 65 and Still Working – Should I Enroll in Medicare? (Part 1)
Much has been written about the oldest baby boomers starting to turn 65 next month and what it might mean for the future of long term care in this country. But, from a practical standpoint there are decisions that each new senior must make that so many are unaware of. Take Medicare for example. More Americans than ever are working beyond what once was the “automatic” retirement age of 65. How does that impact Medicare eligibility?
Most people know that Medicare is the government health insurance program for seniors and the disabled that is now 45 years old. For many years, turning 65 in this country has meant collecting Social Security and enrolling in Medicare. Except that for new seniors now, Social Security won’t start till they turn 66 years old. Many may then assume that age 66 applies to Medicare – it doesn’t – or they may simply choose to wait to enroll in Medicare, which could be a big mistake. That’s because you could limit your options in the future and it could cost you more money in premiums for the rest of your life.
Even if you are working and have health insurance benefits through your employer when you turn 65 you should sign up for Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization expenses. The initial enrollment period is 6 months, beginning 3 months before and continuing through 3 months after your birthday. However, when during that 6 month period you sign up also matters. If you sign up before the month of your birthday then your coverage starts on the first day of the month of your birthday. Sign up during your birthday month and coverage begins the month after. Sign up later than that and your beginning date will be even longer, possibly 3 or 4 months later.
What about Medicare Part B? When should you sign up for that? We’ll discuss it next week along with Medigap policies Medicare managed care.