Among the birthday cake and cards on your 65th birthday, there may be some lingering questions about Medicare. This is an exciting time where you can switch gears and focus on yourself and the things that you enjoy most. But, you also want to feel prepared for what’s ahead.
Here are a few simple steps you can take ahead of time to prepare for Medicare before you turn 65.
Create an account on the social security website.
Create a free account on the Social Security website. Keep this site handy so you can track your earnings and verify them yearly. Wondering how much you’ll get from Social Security when you retire? You can use this account to get an estimate of your monthly Social Security benefit. And when you’re ready to start receiving your benefits, go to ssa.gov or visit any Social Security Administration office to apply.
Talk to a financial advisor.
It’s important to make sure your earnings are recorded accurately because they will be used to determine your Social Security benefits in retirement. Talk to a trusted financial advisor to discuss your expected income and expenses and determine the best financial plan to ensure you can afford your lifestyle during retirement. Gather statements from your 401K, IRA or other retirement savings accounts.
Look for a financial advisor who is certified financial planner (CFP). This means they are licensed and regulated and have undergone special training. You can use this tool to verify an individual’s certification and background.
Learn how, and when, to enroll in Medicare.
Your initial Medicare enrollment window spans seven months, beginning three months before the month of your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and ending three months after it. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Otherwise, you need to take action to sign up. Visit ssa.gov or call 800.772.1213 (TTY 800.325.0778) to enroll. As you get closer to becoming eligible, review your options. If you will not have employer sponsored coverage, decide if Original Medicare (Parts A and B) offers enough coverage or if you’d like more coverage (Parts C and D) with a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap. Read more about how to decide what Medicare plan type may be right for you.
For more help, visit Priority Health’s Retirement Starter, where you’ll get a customized timeline based on your estimated retirement date and more.
With a little preparation, you can ease any anxieties you may be feeling and be ready to enjoy your hard earned retirement.