You're Turning 65: A Must-Do Checklist

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:

Health-Related Matters

  • 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.

Legal and Money Matters

  • Consider long-term care insurance. A private long-term care insurance policy can help pay for long-term home care or residence in an assisted-living facility or nursing home -- things that Medicare doesn't cover. The policies can be expensive, however, and are something of a financial gamble. If you haven't bought long-term care insurance but think you might be interested, now -- when you're in your mid-60s -- is the last age at which buying a new policy is affordable for most people.
  • Plan your Social Security benefits claim. Age 66 is now Social Security's "full retirement age" -- when you can claim your full Social Security retirement benefits without any penalty for continuing to earn an income. But some people claim reduced benefits as early as age 62, while others wait until after full retirement age (up to age 70) to claim higher benefits. Deciding when it's best for you to claim Social Security benefits for yourself, your dependents, and your survivors takes a little planning.
  • Find out about extra help if you have low income and few assets . There is both full medical coverage and direct financial help available to people 65 and over who have low income and few assets other than their homes. Medicaid can pay the full cost not only for medical care but also for long-term home care and nursing home residence. Supplemental Security Income can provide small monthly cash assistance in addition to Social Security benefits.
  • Get your legal documents in order. Although most 65-year-olds still have many years to live, a sudden illness or accident could make decision making difficult if not impossible. Getting legal documents in order can make sure your wishes are f ollowed with regard to healthcare, including end-of-life care, your ongoing finances, and your estate. These documents include a will, a power of attorney for finances, and an advance medical directive (also called a living will).

5 months ago, said...

Do I have to sign up for medicare if I have full coverage from my work..


6 months ago, said...

does my mom loose her medicaid when she turns 65 we gave been told that she may not have insurance! As to my understanding she wouldn't loose medicaid she would just apply for medicare with her medicaid can someone please answer my question she turns 65 on march 9th and is worried she will have no insurance at all


almost 2 years ago, said...

My husband retired from the city government. Three years later he and I both turned 65. I'm still working but have always been on my husband's health plan. We both applied for medicare a&b and have supplemental insurance. So far that seems to be working. However, the city placed my husband's prescription plan on express scripts medicare part d program stating that that' all they offer to retirees. We did not apply for this through Social Security. Since then the price of my medication has sky rocketed. One medication is costing me 90 dollars per month. I normally paid 30 dollars for that same medication. I think it is horrific to work most of your life and pay more for medication on a fixed income than what you paid while working. Part d coming from any source is not a good prescription plan unless that's all you can get. But be prepared to pay a higher cost for your medication. Oh and we are not eligible for any discounts because our income is to high (meaning we are not poor enough) but we will soon be if the cost of medication remains so high. Wow and we can't get any pharmacy discounts because this is a federally funded program and they offer too many discounts now. Do I sound agitated YES. This is one of the many prices you pay after working most of your life and living long enough to become a senior in the good ole US of A.


almost 2 years ago, said...

Not helpful. Does not the address the situation of the working employed who have active full insurance coverage through their employer.


over 2 years ago, said...

I am sorry if I am wrong about this, but no where in this article does it mention call your local SHIP office. (800) 434-0222 I am in Northern California and here they call it HICAP it is a free service. We meet with you for free and explain all of your options objectively and in an unbiased fashion. Our counselors are pretty much all volunteers, trained an certified/registered with the Department on Aging. In our county we have people like Lawyers, former government professional, people who have cared for their parents till the end of their days who are explaining a really complicated concepts in ways that are easy to understand with charts and summarys that make it all clear. We meet with you for one on one free face-to-face counseling in your town or nearby at around 30 sites up and down the San Francisco Peninsula and have free presentations about the basics of Medicare. Which is how I found this article on Google to see if my event posting was active. There is a presentation in Redwood City at the Library on Middlefield 5/7/14 at 6PM come on by and you see what I am talking about . . . if you are turning sixty-five or already have had Medicare and you are still confused.


over 2 years ago, said...

You can get quotes on Medicare Supplements, and Medicare Advantage Plans at www.MedicareAnswersUSA.com


over 2 years ago, said...

I will turn 65 in just a few short weeks. The article helped me to confirm that I have done what I need to do concerning my health and financial welfare.


over 2 years ago, said...

need to sign up how and where can you help


over 2 years ago, said...

I noticed a few questions about what to do if you continue to work after you turn 65 and your employer has group coverage. The first thing you should do is contact your employer and ask how their coverage will work with Medicare. In many cases they can continue to cover you even after you retire. I don't usually recommend going this route unless your employer is paying a hefty portion of this coverage. Medicare with a Medicare Supplement is usually cheaper. This website is a good resource for info on how Medicare works http://www.medicaresupplementmentors.com/what-is-medicare/about-medicare Contact your employer first though!


almost 3 years ago, said...

Already knew the items listed.


almost 3 years ago, said...

It's entirely US centered. I'm from another part of the planet so it wasn't of any use! Sorry.


over 3 years ago, said...

my name is barry amy an i wont be turning 65 until next year may 31 an i just thing that i should check into stuff now an see when i have to applie for my penion an to see what i have to do to get ready so iam not late an what i all have to fill out to ge my pension.


over 3 years ago, said...

i did this check list last year when i turn 65 it was a blessing to have my medicare there for me


over 3 years ago, said...

A bit confused as to what to do if still working...I will be 66 may 7 and have no present retirement plans....company (provides health insurance and VA (60% disabled) covers the remaining...when do I sign up for a,b,c,d,? If I sign up now for benefits do I still only have 6 months to get the medigap supplemental insurance policy?


over 4 years ago, said...

The hardest part of deciding on a medicare supplement is the motivation behind the salesman's recommendation. The plans are all standardized so claims of having the best benefits are removed. The premiums are all regulated by the states so there normally is very little gap there. The main differences to consider when choosing a plan and company is how they pay your claims and will your premum go through the roof after only a short time. I was asked to handle the customer service for a large client list after a close friend passed away. I learned after a short time that because he put the bulk of the policy holders with a truly professional(Not the cheepest) insurance company, the clients would remain happy and my job would be much easier. It has now been almost 9 years and I still believe this to be true and always try to offer this company to all seniors, especially those turning 65 and going on Medicare for the 1st time.


over 4 years ago, said...

Medicare can be really confusing -- especially when you are tyurning 65 or trying to enroll and find a plan for the first time. That's why www.iquote.com is sponsoring a free webinar on Jan. 18 providing tips on how to navigate through some of the choices. Check it out on the advice and answers section and please join us if you have time. no cost. no obligation. Hopefully you'll finish the hour more confident about the choices you need to make.


over 4 years ago, said...

Does this apply if you are still working and covered by your employer's health insurance?


over 4 years ago, said...

Those with more-substantial wealth should at least explore the benefits of pre-probating their estates with revocable or irrevocable living trusts. I'm not saying everyone would benefit from having a living trust, but everyone should explore the pros and cons of that estate planning vehicle and then make the decisions that best suit their individual and particular means and wishes. If you do like the living trust "combo" with a last will and testament plus a durable power of attorney for health care advocacy (a technical name for a so-called "living will") please do not use a "boiler plate" over the counter software, but rather use a skilled legal and/or tax advisor instead that is very familiar with the pros and cons of the living trust itself and the benefits or consequences on the heirs and beneficiaries of that vehicle.


over 4 years ago, said...

My parents moved after they turned 65 and these are some things I wish had been in place in the house they moved into. Wider doorways to their bathroom; when mom had hip surgery she had to turn sideways to get her walker in. Also my uncle came down and installed a grab bar to the tub. We had already installed a handicap commode. I installed a lever to replace the knob on the tub faucet. A couple of other things - I got her a nice padded shower bench that one leg goes outside the tub and the other one in so you can just sit down and slide in, then also a tub bar that goes over the side of the tub. We also ended up having to reinstall the back steps because they had been installed with the treader and riser backwards, making the steps too steep - not being discovered until after mom fell down them. This house had been built by a young couple who it didn't bother. They also didn't put rails on the steps, so that's also something that had to be done. My uncles also installed a door into the house from the garage/utility room area. No, it didn't have one; you either had to go up onto the front porch or around to the back one. Young couple again. When my uncles put in the door, when they did those steps, instead of just doing steps, they made more of a landing area at the door and nice wide, deep steps with a nice not steep stairway type design, if you can picture; much nicer for them so they really didn't use the outside stairs that much anyway especially after she fell but we fixed them anyway after that. Anyway just some thoughts and things to look for. One other thing, almost as soon as mom died dad had me go with him to the bank and have me put on his (their) checking account (taking her off) but he didn't touch their CD(s) because it wasn't due yet and it would mess it up then he's begun to forget about getting it done so I'm expecting that to be a problem; I wish he'd just gone ahead and taken care of it all while we were there. I think I wish the bank had encouraged it a little more rather than explaining the financial ramifications more to him expecting him to remember it; I think I know they have to do it that way unless they have reason to believe he won't but I wish there were a better way. Oh well, just some of my thoughts with my experience.


over 4 years ago, said...

I recommend quite often to my own tax customers that they start their own businesses and use the best legal and tax entity available, which is commonly either a "C" corporation but otherwise an "S" corporation type (*with reservations*). Reservations about "S" corporations: S-corps work best when dealing with pass-through dividends and/or losses as well as with capital gains expectations (like with real estate, stocks and bonds investments, etc.). They also have a compulsory and mandatory requirement for owner/operators to take "a reasonable amount of W-2 compensation." You would be well-advised to discuss your goals and circumstances with a federally-licensed Enrolled Agent to determine how best to proceed with this idea of incorporation for both limited liability and wealth retention purposes. You can locate an EA by visiting www.naea.org (they have a national and international list of qualified Enrolled Agent).