Medicare Marti

When Should I Start Discussing Medicare?

senior couple discussing medicare

There are many reasons people put off starting their Medicare discussion. Some are simply overwhelmed by the impending complexity of Medicare. 

Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, as you near your sixty-fifth birthday, you’ll need to make some decisions about your Medicare choices. There are a lot of considerations, so it is important to start the enrollment process early. 

I suggest starting the process at least six months before your sixty-fifth birthday to familiarize yourself with what options are available and how to enroll.

You are eligible to apply for Medicare benefits for seven months surrounding your sixty-fifth birthday – those seven months include your birthday month, the three months before your birthday month, and the three months after you turn sixty-five. If you have qualifying disabilities or conditions, you may be eligible before turning sixty-five.

In general, you should sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible to avoid a gap in coverage and/or incur late enrollment penalties.

For instance, a client of mine procrastinated getting her Medicare started. She broke her foot before her Medicare Part B and her Supplement and drug plan went into effect. As a result, she had to wait a few weeks before going to the doctor so she wouldn’t have to foot the entire bill herself.

How and when to enroll in Medicare depends on your situation when you turn sixty-five; including whether you’re already taking Social Security benefits and whether you are still on a plan provided by your employer. 

If you are already receiving Social Security you will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B and will be sent your Medicare card from Social Security approximately three months before you turn sixty-five. Otherwise, you’ll need to call Social Security, go to their local office – or their website – to sign up for Medicare.

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