If you’re over 65, we’ve entered the season when your mailbox begins to fill up with advertisements from Medicare Plan carriers wanting to show you the many wonderful benefits they have to offer for the upcoming year. While this can be overwhelming, if not annoying, it does provide you reminders of a couple things:
Many Medicare beneficiaries have been on the same Medicare Advantage Plan for years, and that’s great! If you are fully satisfied with what your carrier has to offer and the network of physicians that accept your plan, then it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
But whatever your situation, would it be such a bad idea to take a little time and compare what your plan is offering versus the other options available to you? Probably not.
The Medicare ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th. Within these seven weeks, all Medicare Advantage Plan members are free to decide if they want to keep the plan they have, or choose a new one, to start the upcoming year.
Medicare Advantage Plan carriers are required to have their new plan benefits published by October 1st. That gives seniors just over two months to complete a plan review.
It is a fairly simple process that takes about 30 minutes of your time. Here are the steps:
A plan review will either leave you confident that you are on the correct plan or it will reveal a plan that is more suitable for you. You really can’t lose!
If you would like to sit down with a local, experienced, and caring Medicare advisor, our team would be happy to schedule a FREE PLAN REVIEW with you.
Our agents are fully licensed and are knowledgeable on all local Medicare Advantage plans. You could also contact a call center and speak to someone in an entirely different part of the country that may know little about your specific plan or the other available options in the area. But why do that?We can meet with you at our local office, at your home, over the phone, or online. In whatever setting you choose, rest assured that you will be guided by a local agent that can be of service to you year-round and for years to come! Please reach out to us when you’re ready. But remember, the deadline for making a change for next year is December 7th.
As caregivers, we become resources for our loved one in so many ways. Often, as our loved ones age, their healthcare becomes more complicated and staying on top of their Medicare coverage becomes crucial. Caregivers are a lifeline to help beneficiaries navigate their Medicare enrollment and benefits each year.
If you're wondering where to start or how to help a parent or loved one enroll in Medicare, know that you’re not alone! We help caregivers support their loved ones daily. One of the most common questions we receive is “Can caregivers legally help a loved one enroll in Medicare?”
The short answer is, “Yes!” But it’s important to know the specifics.
Helping a loved one sign-up for Medicare involves their protected health information. So, you'll need to make sure that you are authorized to speak on their behalf about their healthcare. They will need to complete an Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form to give you the authority to discuss their healthcare with other individuals.
The document is an essential first step to being able to coordinate your loved one's Medicare needs. Without this form, a Medicare representative will be unable to speak directly with you regarding your loved one's plan and benefit options.
Having open lines of communication helps to ensure that your loved one gets the Medicare coverage that best suits their needs. As their caregiver, you will need to talk with them to understand what their health needs are. Knowing what they are hoping to get out of their Medicare plan can help direct your focus to the aspects that will best aid them.
It’s important to know the following about their healthcare needs:
When it's time to speak to a Medicare agent regarding your loved one's benefits, make sure that you have all the pertinent information at hand. You will be asked to provide specific personal, financial, and medical information on the individual's behalf.
To ensure that this process goes smoothly, work hand-in-hand with your loved one and their medical providers to ensure that you have the big picture of their current healthcare.
There's a lot of information out there about Medicare. Gain peace of mind by working with a Medicare Advisor. Licensed, local agents understand the ins and outs of Medicare and streamline your efforts to get your loved one the most appropriate plan.
Are you helping a loved one navigate Medicare? Our experienced advisors are here to walk alongside you on this journey. Schedule a complimentary call with one of our Medicare advisors.
So, you're thinking about relocating when you retire – congratulations! If you're planning on making moves after 65, here are five tips to help you get organized:
If you're considering a relocation after retirement, you're undoubtedly excited about the prospect of beginning your new life. But remember: You do not have to rush into making your decision. Instead, taking your time and planning well in advance helps individuals make the best possible decision when it comes to relocating.
Consider the stages of the moving process, and schedule them in where they make sense for you. Retiring, finding the ideal relocation place (and home), and transferring any remaining ties to your current living situation can take time.
You might even want to take time to relax before undertaking life's next big project – and that's okay too! The most important thing is that you go at a pace that works for you and have all of the details in place to make a seamless transition.
You've been on this earth for 65+ years – it's only logical that you've accumulated a lot of things.
It's not likely that you'll be taking everything with you during the move, so get a head start on downsizing in your early 60s if you can. Choose areas to tackle in batches so that the burden of going through everything is spread out over time. Completing just one hour of decluttering a day can make a significant impact on your process.
If you have children, you might want to ask for their help in this process to identify things that they want from the downsizing. Then, as you go through your things, consider how you plan to dispose of the items that are left that you do not intend to take in the move.
For example, organize a yard sale or post unwanted items online to make some extra cash on the way. Local charities are open to all sorts of donations. Your unwanted items might be able to make an impact in your community even after you've moved.
When it comes to the big move, you're probably going to want to enlist help. Make sure to secure assistance for the move in advance to make the process run smoothly.
Some choose to enlist friends and family members to help with the move. Others enlist moving help for seniors. There are professional moving services that can make sure you do not have to do any heavy lifting. Professional expertise in packing and loading can come in handy when maximizing space during a big move as well.
Location is everything – as we're sure you know. Perhaps you've always had the dream that you'd end up in Florida because it holds the reputation of being a retirement friendly environment.
The options are plentiful when it comes to retirement-friendly states. So when you start to think about different places to settle down after retirement, you might want to put some thought into the best states to live in for seniors and retirees.
If you're thinking about relocating during retirement, make sure your Medicare needs are squared away to avoid undue stress surrounding the big move.
For those who are enrolled in Original Medicare, there is no need to make changes when you're moving to a new state. But for those who have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to ensure your coverage can travel with you. The available Medicare Advantage plans vary by region, so it’s important to review your plan with a knowledgeable Medicare advisor to ensure you don’t have a gap in coverage.
If you’re in the process of relocating in retirement, our trusted Medicare advisors are here to support you in this transition. Schedule an appointment with a local advisor today.
You've worked your entire life, and now it's time to finally enjoy your retirement years.
We all look forward to retirement, but when this new chapter of life begins, so do new experiences. You might be surprised by what you don’t know about retirement – from social security benefits to retirement age itself.
Don’t stay in the dark! Gain peace of mind heading into retirement by familiarizing yourself with these little known retirement facts.
While technically you can start claiming Social Security benefits at age 62, the full retirement age at which you become eligible to claim all of your Social Security benefits starts at age 66. For people born in 1960 or after the full retirement age will be 67.
The Social Security Administration’s increase in retirement age is a result of the rise in life expectancy – the idea is that if people are living longer, there is evidence to back the rise in the retirement age.
Regardless of the retirement age requirements, be sure to keep in mind that you still become eligible for Medicare benefits three months before your 65th birthday.
Waiting until full retirement age to enroll in Medicare could be costly for you.
While people age 65 aren’t eligible for full retirement, they are eligible for full Medicare benefits.
You should enroll for them during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after your birth month).
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual or General Enrollment Periods, which at specific times of the year.
If you've qualified for Social Security benefits, you probably have taken some solstice in the fact that you will receive a Social Security check each month for the rest of your life.
Although that is true, your state might tax your benefits.
Those taxes could affect up to 85% of your total benefit if your individual income is over $34,000 per year ($44,000 per couple). Thirteen states currently impose taxes on Social Security benefits. Check with your state tax agency to see where your state stacks up to ensure you are realistic about the Social Security benefits you'll be able to use for day-to-day expenses.
Retirement living has its benefits, but it’s not free. That’s why financial planners recommend building retirement savings and planning for the future. Financial planning is essential to ensure that you have the money you need to not simply “get by” but to enjoy your retirement.
Creating a budget is the best place to start. If you haven’t been diligent about budgeting in the past, now is a great time to start planning for your monthly expenses and long term goals.
Financial planners suggest that you need to replace 80% of your income once you retire. Likely, your Social Security benefits will not meet that benchmark.
Social Security provides a standard of living comparable to the bottom quarter of earners in the United States. If your standard of living requires an income higher than $30,000 a year, you need to consider how you will supplement your benefits.
Medicare parts A and B are considered Original Medicare. Medicare A is hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Medicare B is general medical insurance and covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, and preventative services.
Healthcare services such as dental and vision care are not covered by Original Medicare.
If you need extra benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, hearing, vision, and others, you should consider enrolling in Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage.
There are also a variety of Medicare Advantage plans available to meet your unique needs during retirement.
Understanding how Medicare works in retirement isn’t easy. Luckily, you’re not alone. If retirement is in your near future, make sure you're prepared by scheduling an appointment with a Medicare Advisor in your community.
As our parents age, we often take on more responsibilities to help care for their needs. In this stage of life there can be both great joys as well as new challenges.
Taking care of aging parents introduces us to all sorts of new encounters – and one of those is learning how Medicare works.
Medicare can be confusing. With all of the information available on the topic, you might find yourself unsure of where to start. The following 5 tips for helping your parents with their Medicare benefits will help you navigate through the confusion.
To be a resource for your parents as they enroll in Medicare coverage, first you need to know the basics of how Medicare works. We’ll start by answering “What are the different parts of Medicare?”
Medicare A acts as hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. When you help your parents sign up for Medicare they will automatically be enrolled in Part A.
Most people qualify for Part A premium-free. If one of your parents paid Medicare taxes while working, then they don’t have to pay a monthly premium for Part A (this is the most common scenario).
Hospital expenses aren’t completely free, though, with Part A Medicare insurance.
Medicare charges a deductible each time a beneficiary is admitted to the hospital. The deductible cost changes every year. In 2021 the deductible was $1,484. If this cost is a concern, consider looking into a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare B acts as general medical insurance and covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, and preventative services. Preventative services covered by Medicare Part B include annual wellness visits, diabetes screenings, flu shots, and many other screenings and tests.
Unlike Medicare Part A, Part B comes at a cost.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B changes each year. In 2021 the premium started at $148.50 and increased for people with higher incomes. Additionally, there is an annual deductible and beneficiaries pay a percentage of the bills for doctor visits and other outpatient services.
Technically, your parent does not have to sign up for Part B. But, if they’re not covered by other qualifying insurance and do not sign-up for Part B when they first enroll in Medicare, then they will incur a costly penalty for as long as they’re in the program.
Wait… is there a Medicare Part C? We’ll come back to that in a moment. First, it’s important to know that Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs and is purchased in addition to Medicare Parts A & B.
Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Every Medicare Part D plan is different, including which prescriptions are covered, which pharmacies are in-network, and what the out of pocket costs are for prescriptions.
If you want to take a deep-dive into prescription drug coverage, we recommend taking a look at this article about the details of Medicare Part D.
Parts A, B, and D of Medicare can be combined through Medicare Advantage Plans (aka Part C).
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers approved by Medicare. These plans are great because they bundle all of the coverage under a single plan. They also often include additional coverage not offered by Original Medicare such as dental and vision.
What do Medicare Advantage plans cost?
Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage pay both a premium for their Part C plan as well as the standard Part B premium.
While paying two monthly premiums may seem costly, often beneficiaries save on their overall healthcare expenses. Some Medicare Advantage plans even have a $0 premium or may help pay for Part B premiums.
It's important to note that your parents must enroll in Medicare benefits during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP is the seven-month window around their 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after their birth month). If they miss their window, they could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual or General Enrollment Periods, which at specific times of the year.
Like other personal health information, there are regulations around what can and cannot be shared with someone other than the patient unless authorized.
If your parent would like you to speak to Medicare on their behalf, they will need to complete an Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form.
Without this form, a Medicare representative will be unable to speak directly with you regarding your parent's program options.
For complete information, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Oftentimes, the best Medicare plan for your parents will be based on their healthcare needs.
Talk with your parents to understand what their health needs are. Knowing what they are hoping to get out of their Medicare coverage can help narrow down their options. Of course, each plan’s coverage varies and talking to a Medicare expert will help ensure your parent is enrolled in the best plan for their needs.
Ask your parent the essential questions:
Allow those questions to transform into a conversation in which you can fully understand your parent's position.
It is best to be proactive with their healthcare providers to avoid any hold-ups with your parent's care.
A little-known fact is that health care providers must enroll in the Medicare Program to receive payment for covered services from Medicare. So, be sure to check with them to ensure that they are enrolled in the Medicare program.
Additionally, some plans only cover services provided by doctors who are in-network. If your parent has a preferred provider, it’s important to make sure that they are in-network for the plan when doing a plan search. Our Medicare Advisors, for example, can search for plans by doctor to ensure that they only show you options that cover the desired physician.
There's a lot of information out there about Medicare. If you're feeling overwhelmed while trying to help your loved one find the right Medicare plan, you're not alone.
With all of the responsibilities that come with helping an aging parent, navigating the complexities of Medicare shouldn’t consume all of your time and energy. Consider turning to an experienced advisor who can help you compare options and guide you through the enrollment process. If you're simply looking for more information, learn more about how to help enroll your parent in Medicare.
Turning 65 is a big milestone – one that nearly 20% of Montana residents have celebrated. Yet, turning 65 is not all about surprise parties and dinner celebrations. Rather, it can feel overwhelming. With each milestone you face in life, you likely have questions about what's next. If you have questions about turning 65, you're not alone. We've taken the time to answer some of the most common questions that 65 brings.
Although many people believe that the answer is 65, the social security retirement age (at which individuals become eligible to claim all of their Social Security benefits) has increased from 65 to 66. That age is scheduled to continue to rise to age 67 over the next few years.
This increase in age is a result of the rise in life expectancy – the idea is that if people are living longer, there is evidence to back the increase in the retirement age. Regardless of the retirement age requirements, be sure to keep in mind that you still become eligible for Medicare benefits three months before your 65th birthday.
Individuals that receive Social Security are automatically signed up for Medicare Parts A and B at age 65.
Medicare A is for hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and home health care. Medicare B is for general medical insurance and covers certain doctor's services, outpatient care, and preventative services. There is a premium for Part B, but this can be deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check.
To access the benefits, individuals turning 65 need to be aware that Social Security will be sending detailed instructions at the beginning of the initial enrollment period – approximately three months before their 65th birthday.
On the other hand, if you are not already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, then you won’t automatically be enrolled. And you won’t receive any information from Social Security regarding your eligibility.
If you fall into the latter category, you’ll be solely responsible for enrolling in Medicare.
No matter which category you fall into, it is important to meet with a Medicare advisor to ensure that you not only get enrolled in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, but that you also enroll in the right plan – you’d be surprised how many options are available to you!
You should sign up for Medicare at age 65, and it is essential to enroll in Medicare benefits during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after).
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Enrollment Period.
You can, but if you plan to do so, be vigilant about enrollment deadlines because Social Security will not automatically sign you up for Medicare benefits.
Although Social Security and Medicare are not the same programs, the Social Security Administration is the party that completes enrollment for Original Medicare (Plans A and B). Therefore, if you choose not to receive Social Security benefits but still want Medicare benefits, you'll need to enroll yourself.
Instead of relying on automatic enrollment, you'll complete the process either online, through calling the Social Security office, or by contacting a Medicare professional.
You can use the Social Security Administration's online application to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare is generally available for any individual approaching or at the age of 65. And in some cases, people under the age of 65 might qualify because of specific disabilities. You can check your eligibility using our Medicare Eligibility Check.
Your company size will determine how you approach Medicare if you're still working and have employer coverage.
If you find that you have group health coverage, you might be able to delay Parts A and B and avoid the lifetime late enrollment penalty for enrolling later.
The Medicare.gov website offers details on which expenses Medicare will cover when you are traveling.
However, it is essential to note that in most cases, Medicare does not cover health care that is accessed outside the United States. The administration defines outside the U.S. as "…anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands."
Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, have their own coverage details, and some may cover your healthcare expenses when you travel.
It’s important to access how often you plan to travel in this stage of life and factor that in when choosing your Medicare plan.
Additionally, the state of Montana has helpful resources for seniors. Take some time to review the resources they have available – even if you won't need them anytime soon, it's beneficial to familiarize yourself with them.
Turning 65 soon? Congratulations! While we hope you're planning a big party to celebrate, we also want to make sure you're planning for another important marker of turning 65: Medicare enrollment. Of course, planning for Medicare isn't nearly as fun as planning a celebration, but we're here to make it as easy as possible. In this article we cover everything you need to know about Medicare when you turn 65.
If you have questions regarding your eligibility for Medicare coverage, the Medicare age limit, or about the program in general, then you’re not alone. Many seniors are inundated with Medicare information, yet still left with questions. The first thing you need to know is that Medicare eligibility begins three months before your 65th birthday.
Medicare is generally available for any individual approaching or at the age of 65. Though, in some cases, people under the age of 65 might qualify because of specific disabilities. You can check your eligibility using our Medicare Eligibility Check.
It is imperative that you enroll in your Medicare benefits during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after your birthday month).
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Election Period or Open Enrollment Period, which occur at specific times of the year.
Some specific instances allow an individual to qualify for a Special Election Period (SEP), such as losing employer coverage or moving. But those circumstances are limited – so it’s best to make sure you’ve enrolled within your specific window.
You might be wondering precisely what Medicare is. Essentially, it is a federal health insurance program with multiple types of coverage.
You can get Part A Medicare premium-free if you meet one of the following requirements:
There is a premium for Parts B & D, but this can be deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check.
Medicare Advantage is basically an all-in-one alternative to Medicare itself. Medicare Advantage plans are a simple way for you to gain more out of Medicare. If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have Medicare while receiving access to additional coverage such as dental, vision, and more.
In addition, the plans have a history of the higher average quality of health outcomes in participants. As a result, they have been strongly supported by the Medicare Trust Fund and others who legislate our healthcare nationally.
Click here to learn more about what Medicare Advantage plans cover.
Need a set of reminders to help make sure you don't forget about your Medicare enrollment window? We've got your back! Click here to see our top reminders for seniors turning 65.
We hope this information aids you as your make plans to enroll in Medicare. Nevertheless, it's not uncommon to have questions about Medicare. That's what we're here for! Find a local advisor who can help you understand your Medicare options today.
As we age, our health needs change, and older adults, especially, face many challenges when it comes to taking care of their health. Among the most challenging is navigating the government-sponsored healthcare coverage program for seniors. The golden years of retirement can be overshadowed by the bombardment of telephone calls and excess junk mail all about Medicare. It’s no wonder so many older adults get confused when it comes to making the right choices for their healthcare coverage and therefore rely on outside help.
About 19% of Americans act as caretakers for a spouse, parent, grandparent, or community member; and the majority of individuals being cared for rely on Medicare or Medicaid. Even adult children whose parents and grandparents are still independent often end up helping their loved one navigate the healthcare system.
One of the first steps to being able to help your parent, grandparent, or other loved one enroll in Medicare is to understand the process. Keep reading to learn more about the different parts of Medicare, how Medicare enrollment works, and how to find the Medicare plan that best fits your loved one’s needs.
Medicare is a complex system that can be difficult to fully understand, especially when there is a wealth of information available. We’ll start simple by defining Medicare and all its basic parts.
Medicare is the U.S. government’s largest health insurance program that provides affordable healthcare coverage to eligible adults. With Medicare, there are a few different options for how to get coverage.
Medicare Parts A and B, or Original Medicare, offer hospital coverage and outpatient coverage respectively. Part A pays for room and board at the hospital and some other healthcare facilities. Part B includes almost everything that Part A doesn’t cover, like doctor visits, medical equipment, lab work, surgeries, therapy, and more.
With Original Medicare, the recipient pays for services as they get them. While Medicare will cover a lot of costs, your loved one could still be responsible for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. However, they may also be eligible for Medigap, supplemental insurance, to help cover those costs. If your loved one needs prescription drug coverage, they can also apply for Medicare Part D.
Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drug costs. This plan is offered by private insurance carriers and is available for purchase as a separate stand-alone plan for those with Original Medicare or can also be included as part of a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an optional, low-cost alternative to Original Medicare offered by private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. These “all-in-one” plans bundle Medicare coverage, including Parts A and B and usually Part D prescription drug coverage as well. Medicare Advantage can also cover things that Original Medicare does not, like vision, dental, and hearing insurance.
A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs that Original Medicare does not cover. This may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Not everything falls under Medigap, however. A supplement plan may not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance carriers.
There are multiple Medicare enrollment periods that your parent or loved one may be eligible for. Individuals become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Younger adults who are disabled or have End-Stage Renal Disease may also be eligible for Medicare.
It is important to do your research and know the date cutoff for their enrollment period in order to make sure they are enrolled without any penalties.
Initial Enrollment Period: IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after the month that you turn 65. In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you will have to pay a late enrollment fee for as long as you have Part B and could have a gap in your health coverage.
Annual Enrollment Period: AEP begins October 15 and ends December 7 each year. During this time, beneficiaries are able to make changes to their existing Medicare plans.
Open Enrollment Period: OEP allows beneficiaries to make a one-time change to their Medicare Advantage Plan from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can also sign up for Medicare if you missed your window, but fees and gaps in coverage may apply.
Special Enrollment Periods: SEPs are available under certain circumstances throughout the year, such as moving out of your existing plan’s service area or retiring from a job that previously provided your benefits. Generally, there are no late fees associated with signing up for Medicare during an SEP, but the eligibility requirements vary.
There are pros and cons to each Medicare plan, but the most important thing is to find the plan that best fits your parent or loved one’s needs. Determining this will depend on a few factors unique to their circumstance, such as where they live and what kind of care they expect to need.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Cost: How high will the beneficiary’s out-of-pocket expenses be? This could include monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance.
Benefits: Does the plan cover any additional healthcare services they need? For example, prescription drugs, vision, dental, or hearing insurance.
Convenience: Are the in-network providers conveniently located? Are their preferred healthcare providers in-network?
Needs: Have they required healthcare in the past few years? Do they anticipate an increased need for care? Do they often see specialists for a health condition?
All of these factors impact which plan is right for your loved one. And often two plans can seem very similar, yet the smallest difference can dramatically change their fit.
To make sure you get it right the first time, your best option may be to discuss your parent or loved one’s situation with a Medicare advisor. A professional can help you weed through the excess information and find the exact plan that will best serve your loved one.
If you're helping a loved one or parent enroll in Medicare our experienced Medicare Advisors are here to support you if you have a question. You can also explore more of our Medicare Resources to educate yourself on all things Medicare.
Your long-awaited retirement years are coming up, but before you can start enjoying your retirement lifestyle there are a few things you need to prepare for. With a little planning you can ease into retirement with as little stress as possible. Keep reading to learn 4 simple ways you can begin planning for retirement now.
The first step to retirement planning is figuring out what it is you want to do during retirement. You may have certain goals you want to accomplish in your retirement, such as traveling, downsizing, relocating to a new state, or picking up a new hobby, but reaching your retirement goals can feel daunting.
Before tackling a mile-long list, you need to prioritize your goals. Prioritizing your goals can mean looking at what matters most to you as well as your timeline, finances, and other factors.
Once you've prioritized your goals it will be easier to then determine how you are going to accomplish them. Consider your post-retirement priorities with a friend or family member so they can encourage you and help keep you accountable as you work towards them!
Reaching retirement is a huge milestone, but it can also be stressful, especially when looking at your finances.
Getting organized, however, is one of the first steps to making your retirement finances a little easier. Assessing your financial situation can include estimating your expenses and debts, 401k, and social security.
If you're not already in the habit of budgeting and monitoring your finances, it's never too late to start. Most seniors live on a fixed income during retirement, which makes planning for your income and expenses each month important.
Additionally, if you're planning on relocating or traveling frequently in retirement, there are important financial aspects to plan for as well.
Consider meeting with a financial planner who can help you review your finances and plan for retirement.
Making healthy choices, like eating better and staying physically activity, can lead to a long and healthy retirement, but there are a few other factors to consider as well.
Even if you're relatively health right now, it's important to consider your future needs. Take a look at what you think your future healthcare costs might be and what Medicare coverage options are available to you helps you prepare for the years to come.
If it's been a while since you've visited your primary care provider, now is a good time to make an appointment for a routine checkup. Evaluating your current health can equip you to find a Medicare plan that is right for your needs.
It's never too early to start planning for retirement, and if retirement is in your near future then now is the time to get a jump on the tips above.
Our team is here to help you with your Medicare planning. Most seniors don't know exactly when they are eligible to enroll in Medicare after retirement. Talk to a Medicare specialist today to make sure you take advantage of your Special Enrollment Period.
If you're retiring soon, it's important to make sure you have a plan for transitioning from Employer Health Insurance to Medicare. Talk to a Medicare Advisor who can help ease the transition and give you confidence in your coverage.
Happy Birthday! Turning 65 is a big milestone around here. Anyone turning 65 in 2021 (or with January 2022 birthdays) will become eligible for Medicare benefits by October of this year.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there about Medicare and choosing the right plan. There are multiple parts and certain requirements you have to adhere to—not to mention the onslaught of mail you’ll be getting this year! To help you keep everything straight, here are a 5 simple reminders for anyone turning 65 in 2021.
Anyone within 3 months of turning 65 is eligible to enroll in Medicare, but depending on your circumstance, you will either be enrolled automatically in Medicare or you will have to sign up on your own.
If you already receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or will receive benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
The Social Security Administration or RRB will send you information regarding your Medicare coverage in the mail.
If you don’t currently receive benefits from Social Security or the RRB, however, you will have to sign up on your own.
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Medicare is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday — the month of your birthday, the three months before, and the three months after.
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage and late enrollment penalties. Missing your IEP window also means you have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Enrollment Period, which begins in October, or the General Enrollment Period, which begins in January.
Of course, there are special circumstances that make you eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP). Losing employer coverage or moving could both make you eligible for an SEP.
You are technically not required to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, but in most cases you will incur a penalty surcharge on your monthly premium that you will have to pay as long as you have Part B.
If you still have employer coverage when you turn 65, then the requirements are different. It’s important to talk to a Medicare specialist about your particular circumstance to ensure you don’t incur any unnecessary costs.
Medicare can be confusing to first-time enrollees, as there are several different options offered. Not every plan, however, is right for every person. You have unique needs and the key is finding the best plan to fit those needs. Your Medicare options include these four parts:
Medicare Part A. This is part of Original Medicare that is for Hospital Insurance. This covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare Part B. This is part of Original Medicare that is for Medical Insurance. This covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, and preventative services.
Medicare Part C. Part C, or Medicare Advantage, offers bundled plans that combine parts A, B, and even D for maximum coverage.
Medicare Part D. Part D is the prescription drug benefit component of Medicare. It must be added on to Original Medicare (Part A or B) or it can be included as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicare can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult to understand for anyone. If you are not sure where to go from here or what plan is best for you, talking to a Medicare expert can help get you going in the right direction.
If you’re entering your Medicare eligibility window, schedule an appointment with a Medicare Advisor in your community who can help you in this transition.
Not eligible yet but will be in the near future? Explore more of our Medicare Resources. We cover everything from Medicare Advantage to Part D Prescription Drug plans and more!