The Ultimate Guide to Medicare at Age 65
Any new phase of your life can be exciting, scary, or both.
It brings new challenges and opportunities, but also brings new risks and potential for mistakes. This transition forces you out of your comfort zone into an unknown place in your life you’ve never been.
Think back to the time you first got married...
Or, remember when your first child was born?
How about the time you started your first “real” job?
You had mixed emotions when you started each brand new chapter in your life never having gone through this experience yet.
Now I know comparing turning 65 and having the option to start Medicare for the first time to these other wonderful and priceless events in your past is a bit of a stretch. But they do share a lot of the same emotions like fear of making the wrong decision, discomfort of learning something new, or the anticipation of a better situation.
Medicare is complicated. It’s easy to screw up your decision. There are a lot of moving parts to consider. It’s all new to you when you’re about to turn 65, even for those of you that are already on Medicare because of a disability...
What to Expect in This Guide
This Ultimate Guide to Medicare at Age 65 will take a look at everything you need to know so you can make the best decision at 65 no matter what your current situation is. Everyone is in a different boat: you may be still working, a veteran who has health benefits, on an Obamacare plan, etc.
In each chapter of this guide I’ll take a deep dive into each topic relevant to making your Medicare decision. It’s meant to be a step-by-step guide in teaching you how to approach your decision. It’s meant to educate you in showing what you need to know, and then building on your knowledge chapter-by-chapter, eventually showing you how to apply it to make the best decision for your situation.
Each chapter does fit together with the others, but I’ve written each one to be a standalone resource. So, feel free to skip around and click ahead to one of the topics if that’s one that interests you more than others right now. You can always come back and go through the others later.
I’ll try to add as many examples, illustrations, videos, screenshots, etc. for each topic to really help you understand each concept. Even after I create the first version of this Guide, I’ll likely go back and add more of these visual aids to help make some of the more complicated points clearer. So come back again to learn something new!
Here’s an outline of how the topics are laid out in the following chapters:
In order to figure out the best decision to make about Medicare at 65, it’d be best if you understood what exactly Medicare is. Here we’ll define Medicare, take a look at its different parts, and find out who is eligible for it.
Everybody’s situation is a little different at 65. You or your spouse may be working, maybe you have retiree insurance, or you could be getting some type of government assistance for your health care through the Veterans Administration, Medicaid, or even a subsidy for your individual plan you got through the Marketplace. The details of your current health insurance plan matter a lot when figuring out what Parts of Medicare you need now, if any at all. Also, we’ll go over when you can and can’t be penalized for.
Once you figure out if you need to sign up for one or more Parts of Medicare, learn about the 5 different ways you can get signed up.
There are 2 main ways to supplement Medicare. The first is with a Medigap Plan. Here you’ll learn about the different types and most popular Medigap Plans available. Also, you’ll learn why turning 65 gives you a unique chance to get certain plans you may not otherwise be able to get later.
PDPs are usually paired with a Medicare Supplement plan. We’ll go in great detail in learning how to use a free tool to help you find the best drug plan not only when you turn 65 but each year down the road. You’ll also learn about the four different phases of the drug plans and how your costs can change throughout the year. Lastly, we’ll review a few different ways you can get your meds for less (or free) if you simply can’t afford them.
These plans provide the second of the 2 main ways you can supplement Medicare. However, you can only pick one. We’ll go over the different types of MAPDs available, and look at the pros and cons of this type of insurance.
Everyone’s preferences are different. Plans can be drastically different from state-to-state, and even in different parts of the same state. Premiums vary wildly, choices of doctors that take each type of insurance can be plentiful or hard to come by, and potential out-of-pocket expenses can be reasonable or a financial burden depending on where you live and your health. We’ll compare the 2 ways to supplement Medicare in great depth to help you choose which one works best for YOU.
First, we’ll take a look at your Medicare timeline. We’ll look at the months before and after your 65th birthday and find the best times to sign up for each of the different parts of Medicare and secondary insurances. There a few different ways to sign up for your plan, and we’ll look at why one method is better than others.
Here I’ll list and answer some of the more commonly FAQs I get asked by folks new to Medicare.
The one thing to count on is the fact that Medicare and your plans will change as time goes on. We’ll take a quick look at a few ways to make sure you stay in the most cost-efficient plans for your situation in the years to come.
Let's get started!