If you’re turning 65 and thinking about your Medicare, here is what you need to know:
How you enroll in your Medicare depends on your current situation related to Social Security.
If you are receiving Social Security payments, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare A and B. Part B has a monthly premium which will be deducted from your Social Security check at the start of the month in which you turn 65. Your Medicare card will be sent to you three months before your birthday month.
If you are not drawing Social Security payments, you will need to contact Social Security to tell them you want Part B.
The Social Security phone number is 800-772-1213, but you will wait on hold for an hour or more to talk to someone. It’s quicker to go to Medicare.gov and enroll online.
If you are not collecting Social Security, you will need to make arrangements to pay your Part B premium which, for most people, is $134.00 per month in 2018.
If your income is above $85,000/year (single person) or $170,000 (couple), you will pay a higher Part B premium. FYI, they look back two years at your income taxes to check your income – even if you’ve stopped working and are not making anywhere near that amount after you turn 65.
You have to pay your Part B premium 3 months at a time if you pay by check. Or, you can set up automatic bank withdrawals to pay the premium each month.
You should make sure you are signed up for Medicare three months before you turn 65.
Once you’ve enrolled in Part B, you will get your Medicare card. Your Medicare card has important information that you will need when you sign up for a Medicare supplement, Part D plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Choosing your Medicare coverage:
Once you’ve got your Medicare card, you need to choose your Medicare coverage. Will you have only Medicare? (A financially risky choice.) Will you get a Medicare supplement and a stand-alone Part D plan? Or will you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D drug coverage?
Here is a video I prepared that explains the difference between Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage.