I’m turning 65 in February and am overwhelmed by Medicare, its options and supplements!
Where do I begin and how do I make my choices?
Terry Says: Gosh, I think I will write a column as a guide because you are not alone. First of all, you sign up for Medicare at www.Medicare.gov. Start the process a couple of months before you reach age 65, which is when you are eligible. That is, unless you are still employed and getting healthcare coverage from your employer.
(But don’t sign up for Social Security until you reach Full Retirement Age — exact date depends on your birth date and is on the SS website.)
Once you do sign up for Medicare you should purchase a supplement immediately. If you sign up for a supplement within the 6-month period after signing up for Medicare, you cannot be turned down from the “best” supplements with the most coverage even if you have an existing health condition. You will also need to sign up for Part D drug coverage — even if you are not currently taking any prescription medications.
You can research these supplements and Part D at Medicare.gov. But if you want help — a shortcut that won’t cost you a penny more — I suggest going to www.ehealthmedicare.com. Once there, call their toll-free number and speak with a helpful agent who will guide you through the process. Unless you really want to be a do-it-yourselfer these are the people who will help you get started on both a Medicare supplement — AND the required Part D drug plan.