Medicare has been so closely associated with the age of 65 for so long now that many people think they can wait until they actually turn 65 to address their health insurance needs and begin that transition. With regard to eligibility and actually enrolling in Medicare, that’s perfectly fine since you have a 7 month window surrounding your 65th birthday to do so. However, there are several things to consider as you approach 65 that make it really beneficial to do your research and get things moving in that direction in advance. This being said, we encourage that you start this process at 64.5.
If you are still working, there are things to consider such as comparing your employer provided group coverage to that of Medicare for both coverage and cost. Another important factor is if you are contributing to an HSA, you must stop at least 6 months before going on Medicare for tax purposes. Also, if you currently have a spouse and/or family members on your plan that will need to come off, you’ll want some time to quote that and make arrangements financially as it can be much more costly than what you’ve been used to.
Whether you are working with a financial advisor or not, you will want to plan for Medicare financially and weight out your options. Gathering all of the information on Advantage plans vs Supplements and those cost differences will help you decide what aligns with your budget. There are also many prescription drug plans you can shop in order to make the right decision for you.
All of this can take time and there is no need to wait, which will only add more stress to an already somewhat overwhelming process. We have a 64.5 checklist that may be helpful if you’d like to see the steps we advise taking at that time. And of course, we’re always ready and willing to hand out some high fives for being on top of your Medicare at 64.5!