Published: August 16, 2018
You are about to celebrate your 65th birthday. You’ve heard from friends and colleagues that you need to sign up for Medicare… but what is Medicare? Who is eligible for Medicare, and what does it cover?
Medicare is federally provided health insurance available to U.S. citizens that are 65 years of age or older. In some cases, Medicare is provided to those with special needs.
There are 4 available parts of Medicare:
Hospital Insurance (Part A) – Provides coverage for hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, or home health services.
Medical Insurance (Part B) – Provides coverage for doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) – Part C provides both your Part A and Part B benefits. These are plans offered by private companies that contract with Medicare. Some private companies offer this type of plan to their retired employees. (See the sections at the end of this article regarding the Shell Medicare Advantage PPO Plan)
Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) – Adds drug coverage to Medicare plans.
Medicare Enrollment: What Do You Need to Do When You Turn 65?
When do I enroll in Medicare?
Your initial enrollment period begins 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after that birthday.
Am I required to enroll in Medicare?
You are required to at least sign up for Medicare Part A. You can sign up for Part B but you will pay a premium for Part B coverage.
Can I enroll in Part A Medicare coverage when I turn 65 and sign up for Part B Medicare coverage at a later date?
You can turn down Part B coverage and sign up for it later but you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
Who should turn down Part B Medicare coverage and when?
If you are still working upon turning 65 (or your spouse is still working) and you are covered by group health, you might turn down Part B coverage at that time.
If I choose to postpone enrolling in Part B Medicare, how do I enroll at a later date?
You will be able to sign up for Part B later during a Special Enrollment period. This gives you the option to sign up for Part B while you are still employed or you can sign up within an 8-month period after your group health coverage ends.
Medicare Enrollment Costs: What Will Medicare Cost You Each Month?
Now that you know when you should sign up, you are probably wondering how much Medicare will cost you per month.
How much do Medicare Part A premiums cost?
Part A premiums can range between $0 to a maximum of $422 monthly, depending on your income and the amount of Medicare taxes you have paid in the past.
How much do Medicare Part B premiums cost?
Part B premiums start at $134 monthly and increase based on your adjusted gross income. A two-year lookback period will be applied to your income to determine your Part B premium.
How much do Medicare Part C and D premiums cost?
Part C and D premiums will vary based on the type of plan you choose to sign up for from a private company. There are also deductibles and co-pays for the various plans in addition to the monthly premium.
When do I enroll in the Shell Medicare Advantage PPO Plan?
Medicare Advantage plans have specific enrollment periods. You will want to contact the Shell Benefits coordinator to determine when the next enrollment period is and what your premium for this plan will be.
Where do I enroll in Medicare?
Is there anything I should consider before enrolling in Medicare?
Each person’s situation will be different depending on their coverage needs, income, and retiree benefits offered by their employer. That’s why cookie-cutter advice rarely works for our clients who have above average life goals and unique company benefits. Consult with a trusted advisor or contact a member of the Willis Johnson & Associates team to better understand your Medicare options.
Alexis Long, MBA, CFP®
Alexis Long is a wealth manager at Willis Johnson & Associates. For Alexis, financial planning combines an interest in producing detail-oriented financial plans with a desire to help people obtain their goals, ranging from retiring early, paying for their grandchildren’s educations, buying a second home or leaving a legacy for their children. Understanding what is truly important to a client is key to good financial planning, along with providing solid technical advice.
Alexis earned her undergraduate degree in International Business from Texas Tech University and her Finance M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.