Speak with a licensed sales agent
1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday

A Checklist for Medicare and Turning 65

medicare-65-checklist

Let’s face it, for most people, transitioning from the regular healthcare marketplace to Medicare and turning 65 can be overwhelming. We’re here to make it easy. Follow our Medicare checklist to avoid any potential pitfalls.

Mark your calendar

Medicare enrollment is restricted to specific enrollment periods. When you turn 65, you have the longest opportunity for enrollment, referred to as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This period includes the month of your 65th birthday, as well as the three months before and after your birthday month, for a total of seven months.

Neglecting to enroll during this period can result in fees and increased costs and may create a gap in your healthcare coverage. Marking the start and end dates of this important enrollment window on your calendar helps ensure you complete enrollment during this timeframe.

Check your enrollment status in Parts A & B

Some individuals are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Parts A and B. Some aren’t and must apply for it. Here’s a brief overview to help determine if you may be enrolled.

If you’ll receive Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period (4 months before your birthday): you may be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B, and should receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your birthday.

If you will not receive Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period: you may need to enroll in Medicare through the Social Security Administration.

(If Needed) Enroll in Medicare Parts A & B

If you need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B before your 65th birthday, you’ll apply through the Social Security Administration using one of these methods:

If you’ve completed all these steps and are successfully enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, you’ll have basic Medicare coverage which might be sufficient for you. However, Original Medicare doesn’t cover all health services, including hearing, vision, dental, and prescription drugs. We recommend the next several steps to ensure you have coverage that fits all your needs.

Make a list of physicians

One of the frustrations many people have when making changes to their healthcare is not having their physicians covered in their new health plan. So, when making a decision about Medicare when you are turning 65, you will want to make sure that your physician is covered in whatever Medicare plan you select to use. Not all physicians accept Medicare, and Medicare Advantage plans often have networks of physicians. Having a list of your physicians handy makes it easier to check if they’ll accept your new insurance.

Make a list of prescriptions

Each Medicare plan offers different coverage for prescription drugs, often in a list called a formulary. While evaluating plans for best-fit, you may want to compare prescription costs. Having a list prepared will simplify this process.

Research additional benefits

In addition to Original Medicare, you may wish to enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Prescription Drug plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans, for example, have additional benefits with no additional premiums. Plans are specific to your zip code, and plan benefits and costs vary.

You can compare plans through our online portal or contact our Medicare Advocates to evaluate plans in your area (1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday).

Enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Prescription Drug Plan

If you find a plan that’s a good fit for you in addition to Original Medicare, be sure to enroll in that plan before the end of your Initial Enrollment Period. The enrollment periods for such plans are also limited.

Celebrate!

Congratulations! Navigating the maze of Medicare and turning 65 are two big accomplishments. If you have any questions about your Medicare enrollment or need assistance at any point in the process, we’re here to help. Contact us at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday.