Turning 65 In the Next Six Months? The Countdown to Medicare Has Begun!

Related topics: Legal & Financial, Insurance, Financial

The NCOA offers a free, easy online roadmap to help you navigate your way through the process.

For close to a million baby boomers this year, their next birthday means it's time to enroll in Medicare. But many of the about-to-be-seniors are unsure about what to do. The National Council on Aging's MyMedicareMatters site has broken it all down for you in a handy schedule to help you get ready. Grab a cup of coffee and your computer or tablet for a quick, painless tutorial:

6 Months Before Turning 65:

Explore the ABCDs of Medicare. Start with an overview

Find out if your work history (or current/former spouse's) qualifies you for coverage.

Learn how other coverage works with Medicare. Check eligibility.

Make sense of the costs of Medicare. Start with an overview

Understand your enrollment options. Start with an overview

  • Plan to enroll on time to avoid penalties and delays in coverage, depending on when is best for you.
  • If you plan to enroll in your Initial Enrollment Period, set a reminder for yourself for 3 months before your 65th birthday.

4 Months Before Turning 65:

Compare plans for coverage packages.

Calculate costs per month/year for:

  • Premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Copays & coinsurance

3 Months Before Your 65th Birthday:

Enroll in Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period. You should also enroll in Part B unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Confirm receipt of Medicare card(s).

Talk to a benefits advisor to get detailed information about plans. See if you qualify

Make sure to ask these important questions:

  • Will I have to choose hospital and healthcare providers from a network?
  • Will my doctors accept the coverage? If not, are there doctors near me who will?
  • Will I need referrals to visit specialists?
  • Will the plan cover me if I get sick while traveling in another state?
  • What will my prescription drugs cost?
  • Are my drugs on the plan's drug list (or formulary)?
  • Does the plan include the pharmacies I currently use?
  • Can I get my prescriptions through the mail?
  • Does the plan have a good quality rating?

Make your decision.

Learn how to use your Medicare. Begin here.

The National Council on Aging (www.ncoa.org) is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization whose mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans and the community organizations that serve them and works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities.