• Did you know that if you are Medicare eligible at age 65, you must sign up for Medicare 3 months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, or during the 3 months following your birthday month? (If you’re still working and you have “creditable” insurance coverage, you can continue with your employer insurance.)
• Did you know that you sign up for Medicare through Social Security? You can do this yourself on the Social Security website, www.ssa.gov.
• Did you know that if you are currently on a Marketplace (or Obamacare or ACA insurance) policy, you MUST switch to a Medicare policy at age 65. If you do not, you will receive a premium penalty from Medicare and will have to pay back any subsidy you may have received during that time period. Yes, your Marketplace policy may be better and cost you less, but you are not allowed to keep it.
• Did you know that no one is going to send you a letter to tell you this and remind you to switch your policy? You must keep track of this yourself. Many people are getting caught, assuming someone will let them know when they need to switch their policy. Unfortunately that is not how it works.
Age 65 is a great age – maybe you’re considering retirement and will now have more time to enjoy the simple things, the little things that as we get older we realize are really the big things, the things that matter. Time with family and friends, time to pursue hobbies, time to travel.
It’s also an age when we may ignore important steps we need to take – such as switching insurance policies, getting that red, white and blue card that says Medicare. But some deadlines are just too important to ignore and can hurt us financially.
If you are nearing 65, we invite you to come to a Medicare Basics class at the SeniorsPlus Education Center, and/or make a free appointment with a SeniorsPlus Medicare counselor to review your options. Medicare counselors are available in Fryeburg, Farmington, Norway, Poland, Rumford and Lewiston. Call today 1-800-427-1241.
Holly Zielinski is the Director of Community Services for SeniorsPlus