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Your “When I’m 64” To-Do Item: Consider Medicare Options

Your “When I’m 64” To-Do Item: Consider Medicare Options

Paul McCartney asked back in 1967 “Will you still need me, will you still feed me…when I’m 64?” Well, that age has come and gone for Sir Paul, but for most of us, that is precisely the right age to start considering Medicare options. Even though initial Medicare enrollment begins three months prior to, and lasts for three months after, the month you turn 65, determining the correct mix of coverage takes some time and research since each person’s circumstance is unique.

Almost everyone must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. This includes people in a retiree health plan, an individual policy, or small employer group plan (less than 20 employees). The only people who are exempt from enrollment at age 65 are workers and spouses in an employer group plan with more than 20 employees. Their enrollment period will come at a later date. So as you head toward your 65th birthday, you will need to consider the following:

At age 65, will I still be working?

If YES, will you be covered by a group plan with more than 20 employees?

a) If YES, you have the option of staying on the group plan and refusing Medicare Part B until you retire or decide to move to a Medicare supplement plan. Keep in mind that if you stay with group coverage in lieu of Medicare, you should confirm that your prescription coverage is considered “creditable coverage” for the Medicare Part D prescription plan. (If not, you’ll incur a late-enrollment penalty when you do eventually enroll in Part D.) You can also elect a Medicare supplement and Part D prescription plan instead of the group plan. This is a personal decision, so compare plan options carefully.

b) If NO, you must enroll in Medicare Part B. You can then choose to stay on the group plan or elect a Medicare supplement plus Part D, or the all-inclusive Medicare Advantage Plan instead.

If NO, you won’t be working, have you begun to evaluate your post-retirement Medicare options? They include:

• Medicare and a retiree plan with creditable drug coverage

• Medicare, Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan and Part D (prescription) plan

• All-inclusive plan – Medicare Advantage

Employer coverage isn’t automatically best

Even if you work past age 65, you shouldn’t assume employer coverage is your only, or best, choice. Insurance is a very personal decision. Fully learn about all of your options before you select an option. Be sure to do your homework, compare plans and benefits carefully, and/or seek guidance from a licensed insurance agent who specializes in Medicare choices.

How much will Medicare cost?

Income and healthcare needs determine your premiums, but Medicare is certainly not free (a common beginner’s assumption). All retirees incur a monthly premium for Medicare Part B coverage. Your income level determines the amount you pay; higher-income individuals pay higher premiums. You may also choose to purchase supplemental insurance and prescription drug coverage. This will protect you against many of the out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare.

How do I enroll in Medicare? Many people mistakenly assume that Medicare automatically enrolls them when they turn 65. However, this is only true if you also begin receiving Social Security at age 65. If you’re not yet receiving Social Security, you need to contact the Social Security Administration by calling 800-772-1213 or online at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. The initial enrollment period for everyone who is not retaining 20+ employer group coverage begins three months before you turn age 65. Your open-enrollment period extends for seven consecutive months. But you should enroll within that first three months’ window to ensure that Medicare coverage begins on the first day of the month you turn 65.

Other considerations:

• Do you have a spouse or child(ren) who are currently covered by your employer’s group health insurance plan? If so, don’t forget to consider the options available to them once you’re no longer on your employer’s plan.

• Will you travel outside of the country for extended periods of time? If so, you might want to consider international travel health insurance.

These points should help put you on the path toward a good decision about your health insurance coverage during retirement. However, if you need a sounding board or assistance during this search, please call your Wealth Advisor. Our team can answer basic questions, and also point you toward appropriate resources.

Important Disclosure Information

Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request. This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This information is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

Please remember that RegentAtlantic does not sell or recommend specific insurance products. Please consult with an insurance professional of your choosing prior to implementing any of the strategies discussed in this article.

This article is based on RegentAtlantic’s current understanding of Medicare legislation. Congress may change this legislation at any time.

Important disclosure information

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including the loss of money invested. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including the investments or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by RegentAtlantic Capital, LLC (“RegentAtlantic”) will be profitable.

Please remember to contact RegentAtlantic if there are any changes in your personal or financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing our previous recommendations and services, or if you wish to impose, add, or modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment management services. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for your review upon request.

This article is not a substitute for personalized advice from RegentAtlantic. This article is current only as of the date on which it was sent. The statements and opinions expressed are, however, subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may differ from opinions expressed in other businesses and activities of RegentAtlantic. Descriptions of RegentAtlantic’s process and strategies are based on general practice and we may make exceptions in specific cases.

RegentAtlantic does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with a legal and or tax professional of your choosing prior to implementing any of the strategies discussed in this article.

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