Greetings! I trust that this will find you well and enjoying life.
Medicare and all that’s involved with it can be complex initially. You’ll need to take steps to familiarize yourself with it as you approach age 65 for maximum benefits and to minimize your cost. Even enrolling can be tricky based on your particular circumstances.
For instance when you turn 65 you’re eligible to sign up for Medicare Part B which covers out patient services. However you may determine that it’s in your best interest to continue coverage with your employer either opting to take corporate retiree medical benefits or going with COBRA. These options may cause problems for you down the road.
When you turn 65 you can forego Medicare without consequences if you’re still working and covered by your employers group health plan. But once you retire you must enroll in Medicare within eight months, even if you continue to participate in your former employer’s health plan. This eight month period is known as the special enrollment period.
If you fail to enroll in this period and your employer coverage stops, you could be uninsured for an extensive period. You won’t be allowed to enroll in Medicare Part B until the next general enrollment period which runs from January 1 to March 31, and then your coverage won’t begin until July. Also you subject yourself to lifetime penalties for missing the enrollment period. For each twelve month period you delay enrolling when you are eligible, you will pay a penalty of 10% of your Part B premium forever.
This isn’t a comprehensive overview on enrolling in Medicare nor meant to be. It’s simply an example of the complexity of Medicare and your need to get it right based on your circumstances. It’s going to greatly be to your advantage as you approach age 65, to familiarize yourself with it as it applies to your particular circumstances to maximize benefits and minimize your cost.
If you have questions about your retirement planning don’t hesitate to contact us.
Jeff Christian CFP, CRPC