Enroll in Medicare at the Right Time
In general, most people need to enroll into Medicare when they are first eligible at age 65.
You will have a 7-month window of time to enroll in Medicare Parts A and/or B which is called the “Initial Enrollment Period”.
This time period begins 3 months before the month in which you turn 65, includes your birthday month and then ends 3 months after your birthday month. Enrolling during this time period will help you avoid late enrollment penalties. *
Gathering Medicare Information Ahead of Time
To avoid penalties and lapses in coverage, it is important to start gathering information prior to enrollment.
Learning about the parts of Medicare before making a plan decision will help you make an informed decision plus decrease any worries about making the wrong choice or missing your enrollment period.
Understand Medicare vs. Workplace Health Insurance
Although many people retire at age 65 or even earlier, you can still enroll in Medicare even if you plan on continuing to work.
It is important to consult with a Smart Insurance Solutions® advisor to compare which is better coverage and more cost effective.
Calculate Your Medicare Part B Premium
If you are ready to enroll into Medicare, it is important to understand that Social Security Administration calculates your Medicare Part B premium based on your income.
In 2021, the monthly cost for Part B is $148.50 for people making up to $88,000 per year ($176,000 for couples). It is a 2-year look-back which means 2021 calculations are based on your 2019 tax return.
If you believe that you will exceed the above mentioned income thresholds, your Smart Insurance Solutions® advisor can provide you with further information. **
Explore Financial Assistance Programs
For people with lower income and assets, there are several programs available to help lower costs.
The Federal government offers a program called Extra Help or Low-Income Subsidy which is designed to lower drug plan premiums and/or drug costs.
The State government offers different levels of Medicaid that can help with the monthly Medicare Part B premium and/or medical costs left after Medicare pays like deductibles and copays. ***
Choose a Plan that is Right for You
It is important to understand the different parts of Medicare and do cost comparisons to determine which program will be the best fit for you.
Chatting with family members or friends can be helpful, but please keep in mind that each person is unique and has different needs and perhaps different finances – what may be good for your friend may not be the best for you.
Stick with plans that cover your doctors, pharmacy, and prescription medications.
* “Medicare & You 2021. The official U.S. government Medicare handbook.” Released and paid by the Department of Health & Human Services and CMS.