When you think of milestone birthdays, which do you think of? Ages like 16, 18, 21, and 50 probably come to mind. But here’s another: 65.
The month you turn 65 is also the time most people enter Medicare eligibility. But you shouldn’t wait until you’re about to blow out your 65th birthday candles to start thinking about Medicare. In fact, about 6-12 months before you reach 65 is when it’s time to start doing your research.
Understanding Medicare Eligibility
Even if 65 doesn’t feel real for you just yet, it very well might be. You might not even have realized that there are certain eligibility rules under Medicare, outside of turning 65. So how do you know when you’re eligible for Medicare? Take a look at some of the general requirements:
- A Medicare recipient must be a citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident.
- You’re eligible for Medicare if you’ve worked a minimum of 10 years for an employer.
- The usual age to begin receiving benefits is 65; however, people younger may receive benefits due to disability, end-stage renal disease or ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease).
If you know that you fall beneath one of the mentioned eligibility requirements (or 65 is right around the corner), then it’s time to get planning. Medicare works differently than most health insurance plans so there are a few important things you can do to prepare ahead of time, all helping to make the transition that much simpler.
- Become familiar with the jargon. Explore our Medicare glossary to get started.
- Mark your calendar! The initial enrollment period for Medicare is three months before your 65th birthday and three months after your 65th birthday (7 total months).
- Confirm your eligibility. You can contact Social Security to confirm your Medicare eligibility at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778.
- Get clarity on your current insurance situation. Ask questions like: Should I delay signing up for Medicare Part B? How much will things cost under Medicare? Can I continue seeing my doctor? What type of additional coverage is right for me?
- Understand the costs associated with Medicare. This way, you can plan ahead of time. A helpful way to do this is to understand the ins and outs of premiums and potential out-of-pocket costs. You can explore the Medicare Basics to do this.
These are just a few of the preliminary steps you can take to stay ahead of your potential transition into Medicare. You can also receive an even more detailed look at additional coverage options that are right for you through a new tool — EasyMedicareSolutions™. This tool helps you estimate how much you will really pay out of your own pocket for healthcare. It also provides an unbiased look inside your different Medicare insurance options –taking into account your lifestyle and health care needs. So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring the tool today.