If you are nearing retirement age, be sure to avoid these three common pitfalls related to Medicare:
- Don’t miss the deadline! Many people think their full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration is also their Medicare deadline. However, for those who were born between 1943 and 1954, the Social Security Administration defines full retirement age as 66, but the age when you typically must sign up for Medicare is 65. You have up until you are age 65 and four months to make a decision. After that, you could face late enrollment penalties depending on your situation.
- Is Medicare a “must” for those who reach age 65? One of the biggest misconceptions for those who are 65 is that they are obligated to take Medicare coverage. But if you are covered by an employer plan or a spouse’s employer plan, you need only register for Medicare Part A but you can delay enrollment until you lose employer coverage or stop working. In that case, you would be eligible to fully enroll later during a special enrollment period without penalty.
- Do you know “who’s on first!” Those who are 65 and who receive Social Security benefits must have Medicare Part A, which covers hospital insurance. If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you will be enrolled automatically. But what to do about supplemental Medicare Part B coverage, which serves as medical insurance, is a key decision. Again, you must sign up for it, but you can delay enrollment under certain circumstances. A lot of the choice depends on your employer, provided that you are still working.