I’m turning 65 – What’s next?

There are a number of things you should do when you’re about to turn 65. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Consider scheduling a meeting with an Elder law Attorney to review your estate planning documents and discuss long-term plans. Get answers regarding protecting your estate, how long-term care is paid for and other issues you have questions about.
  • Get ready for Medicare. You can sign up for Medicare up to three months before you turn 65. It will be effective the day you turn 65. Almost everyone will enroll in Medicare Part A (which covers in-patient care susch as hospitalizations). If you have other coverage that you can keep, Medicare Part B is optional. HOWEVER, you need to save written confirmation that your other coverage is comparable to Medicare Part B. Otherwise you might have a late enrollment penalty if you switch to Part B in the future.
  • You can also consider a Medicare Advantage Plan instead of traditional Medicare. Our experience with advantage plans is that some health care providers do not accept specific plans. If you want to keep your doctor, make sure he or she accepts an advantage plan before you enroll.
  • Medicare Part D plans are designed to cover the cost of prescription drugs. If you already have other coverage you plan to keep, make sure you keep written confirmation that your other coverage is comparable. This will allow you to avoid a late enrollment penalty if you purchase a Part D plan in the future. You can review which medications specific plans cover at mediare.gov. Click here to find out which plans cover your drugs.
  • Speak with someone about a Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap insurance). Unless you have an advantage plan, traditional Medicare has many co-pays and deductibles. Most of those yould be covered if you buy a Medicare Supplement policy. The result is that your medical expenses would be limited to your monthly (or quarterly) premium payment for your supplement and you would not have any surprise medical bills. Read more about supplement policies here.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance if you don’t already have it. Medicare barely pays for long-term care (usually it’s limited to a maximum of 100 days of rehabilitation following a qualifying hospital stay). Medicaid is institutionally biased and focuses on nursing home care. If you want to stay home, or if you want to have assisted iving as an option, a long-term care insurance policy is the way to go.
  • Make sure you consider when to apply for Social Security. If you apply before your full retirement age, you will have a permanent reduction in benefits. If you delay filing until age 70, you will have a permanent increase in benefits. If you’ve not sure when to apply, speak with your financial planner.
  • If you have low-income, look to see whether you qualify for extra help paying for Medicare co-pays and deductibles or paying for prescription drugs.


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