Medicare..Should You Enroll And When?
By: Bonnie Nelson, Blueshield of Northeastern New York
As adults get closer to turning 65, they receive a lot of information about Medicare. It can be very confusing to sift through all of this information. So here are some tips:
Planning for Medicare
It’s important to start reviewing information at least three months before your 65th birthday. One of the things you should know is if you are going to continue working or if you will retire at age 65. Working past age 65 can affect your decisions about health care.
If you continue working, your insurance through your employer ( or spouse’s employer) may seem the same, but because you’re eligible for Medicare, it may work differently. That’s why it’s important to contact your ( or your spouse’s) employer to find out how your insurance works with Medicare.
It’s also a good idea to contact the Social Security Administration to discuss your specific situation. Visit your local Social Security office, or call 1-800-772-1213 ( TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Medicare Part A
Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when they turn 65. Part A covers hospitalization. It’s paid for through payroll deductions when you are working. If you have been working for 10 years or more, Part A should not cost you anything.
Should You Wait to Enroll in Part A?
If you have a health savings account (HSA), you may not want Part A right away. After you enroll in Part A, your employer may stop contributing to your HSA. You should speak to your Human Resource Department to verify how Part A may change your benefits.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B covers medical services, such as primary doctor or specialists visits. There will be a monthly premium for Part B based on your income.
Should You Wait to Enroll in Part B?
If you or your spouse is still working for a company with 20 or more full time employees and you get health insurance from them, you may not need both parts of Medicare when you turn 65. You can delay Part B and pick it up when you retire or if you lose your employer group health insurance.
If you are thinking about declining or delaying enrollment in Part B, you should:
- Contact the Social Security Administration to be sure you understand the rules
- Keep a detailed record of whom you spoke with at Social Security and what they told you in case there are any issues with your benefits in the future.
If you are self employed or your employer has less than 20 employees you will probably need to take Part A and Part B.
To apply for Medicare, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Health care providers, like BlueShield of Northeastern New York , have representatives available to answer questions and guide you through the process.