You're Turning 65: A Must-Do Checklist
If you're about to turn age 65 (or know someone who is) it's time to consider some things that can greatly affect your finances and healthcare. In the months leading up to -- or in the months immediately following, if you've been a little slow -- your 65th birthday, do the following:
- Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. Almost everyone age 65 and older is eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A (inpatient care) and Medicare Part B (outpatient care). You may sign up as early as three months before your 65th birthday to ensure that your coverage begins on the day you turn 65.
- Consider a Medicare Part C managed care plan. Many people age 65 and older enroll in a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage HMO or other managed care plan. These plans replace and provide broader coverage than traditional Medicare Parts A and B. They are somewhat cheaper than the combination of regular Medicare plus a private Medigap supplemental insurance policy, but they limit the health providers you may use. Some Part C plans include prescription drug coverage.
- Consider a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The high cost of prescription drugs leads the majority of people age 65 and over to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, which provides some reduction in yearly drug costs.
- Shop for a Medigap insurance policy to supplement Medicare. Medicare leaves unpaid a large portion of most people's medical bills. To fill in the gaps in Medicare payments, many people buy a private Medigap supplemental insurance policy. Your right to buy the policy of your choice only lasts until six months after you enroll in Medicare Part B.