Medicare Still Confusing to Many Turning 65

Ten thousand people each day are turning 65 in this country.   The majority of them have one thing in common; uncertainty and confusion about how Medicare works.

The good news is, there are some basics that can help you sort out your options and set up a timeline of what to do and when to do it.

Each week for the next few months, I will cover a different aspect of Medicare eligibility and enrollment in my blog.  This week we will talk about some fundamentals of enrollment.

First, if you are turning 65,  and currently have private individual insurance coverage (not through an employer or the employer of a spouse) you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the 7-month period that begins  3 months prior to your birthday, the month of your birthday, and 3 months after your birthday.  If Medicare is going to be your “primary” coverage, and you want that coverage to begin in your birthday month, you should enroll during the first three months of your IAP (initial enrollment period).   If your birthday is after the 1st of the month, and you enroll in the first three months of your IAP, your Medicare coverage will begin on the 1st day of your birthday month.  If your birthday is on the 1st day of the month your coverage will begin the first day of the prior  month.

If you are continuing to work after 65, and are covered by insurance through active employment of yourself or your spouse, the rules are a bit different and you should definitely review your options with Medicare or a Medicare knowledgeable advisor.  It gets a bit tricky if one person is working and the other is on Social Security and covered under an (actively employed) spouses group plan.  In this case, because the (non-employee) covered spouse is already receiving Social Security benefits, they will automatically be enrolled in Part A and Part B and they may need to decline Part B to preserve their IAP  for later.  The guideline is related to the number of employees in the company providing the group coverage.

A+ Longevity offers Medicare consulting and free Medicare classes for people who need help understanding their benefits.  Check out our current class schedule on the A+ Longevity Facebook page



As President Obama rolls out his budget this week we will be keeping our eye on articles outlining proposed changes to Medicare.  Recently I read an article talking about merging Part A and Part B of Medicare.  This would create an opportunity to move more cost-sharing to Medicare beneficiaries by increased deductibles, co-payments, and virtually reducing the progressive changes to preventative care made in 2012.    Most people are already straining to cover Part B premiums and some type of supplemental plan and a drug plan (premiums may not be excessive – but often co-payments for drugs can be ).  Changes that increase costs for current beneficiaries are undoubtedly going to cause problems for many who are already juggling.

Although many “boomers” are continuing to work after 65, many  seniors who are living on a fixed income – already hurt by extended low interest rates- are understandably nervous about Medicare program changes – especially if it includes increased out of pocket costs.

Stay tuned for additional posts as news is released on Medicare changes.