by Loretta Hartzell, Hartzell & Associates
The government is giving you a birthday gift when you turn 65; it’s your Medicare card. This milestone birthday can be confusing when it comes to Medicare. How do you enroll in Medicare? Do you need additional insurance besides Medicare? I’m sure your mail box is full of materials because every insurance company knows you are turning 65. So here are some guidelines for you to follow:
- If you are receiving social security benefits, the government will be mailing you your Medicare Card 3 months prior to the month you turn 65. That card will indicate that you are enrolled in both Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Medical). If you have worked enough quarters Part A is free. There is a premium for Part B and the standard premium in 2016 is $121.80 a month, although higher income beneficiaries pay more. The premium is deducted from your social security payment. The question to ask yourself is Do I need Part B? and that will depend on how you answer the following question. Are you covered under a spouse’s health care plan? If the answer is yes then you can delay enrolling in Part B of Medicare.
- If you are not receiving social security benefits, you will need to enroll in Medicare at the Social Security office or you can enroll online at www.ssa.gov. You need to start this process 3 months prior to your 65th birthday. You also have to decide if you need Part B of Medicare. If you are going to continue to work beyond 65 and your employer will be providing you with health insurance then you can delay enrolling in Part B. The same is true if you will be covered under your spouse’s health insurance plan.
- If you enroll in Part B and are delaying your social security payments until your full retirement age, the government will bill you directly for your Part B premiums.
- If you enroll in Part B and will not have insurance as a retiree or through a spouse’s insurance plan then you will probably want to purchase additional insurance to fill in the gaps in Medicare. Part B of Medicare only covers 80% of your bills. For more information check out www.medicare.gov or call our office and we will answer your questions and help you make the right choices for your Medicare needs.