Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

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Leeraar
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Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Leeraar »

So, here I am. I will be 65 in December, my company health care goes away, and I need to enroll in Medicare. But, I am delaying my claim on Social Security until age 70.

I am being besieged by phone calls and mail from Medicare providers.

Can someone please point me at a process to resolve this? Do I start with a visit to my local SS office?

Thank you,

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")
Sidney
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Sidney »

I would start with

http://www.medicare.gov/

and then move on to other online resources. Also, many community-based senior centers have (or can direct you to) experts who can help navigate the Medicare alternatives. For now, just ignore the calls and letters and educate yourself on how the program works.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
Dandy
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Dandy »

As I recall you can just go on the SS website and apply for Medicare. If you don't take SS they will bill you for the premium which you can put on your charge card if that suits you. You will still get bombarded with Medicare Supplement pitches from those providers since most people want to buy a Medicare Supplement. I don't know of a way to stop those mailings.
Bill M
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Bill M »

I'm still a few years from 65, but have similar plans. The information packet I received when retiring two years ago said to call Medicare (800-633-4227) three months before turning 65. That may not still be right, but it seems a good first step. MegaCo also said to expect some confusion about paying for Medicare directly, since Medicare expects everyone to be collecting SocSec and deducting premiums from that check.
Rupert
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Rupert »

As a PP said, most communities have officials, usually working out of senior centers, etc., that help you navigate the Medicare alternatives. With my mom, she found the easiest way to choose among the supplement options was to talk to her friends already on Medicare to see what their experiences were with the different providers.
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BTDT
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by BTDT »

When you apply ask them for the documents you must sign and return to start automatic monthly payment drafting. It gets to be a pain paying the premiums by mail.
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dbr
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dbr »

Medicare A and B are provided by the government, with a premium to be paid monthly for Part B, which, as mentioned, can be paid by direct deduction from a checking account. These can be arranged by applying online starting three months before one's 65th birthday. One should not delay as there are consequences for letting Medicare A and B go unelected.

Part D, prescription drug coverage can be bought from an insurance company. The benefits and costs are an immense tangle that will require considerable investigation. This can be renewed or changed annually.

Supplemental insurance, aka Medigap, can be bought from an insurance company. There is an open enrollment period for six months after one turns 65, after which a company can insist on medical underwriting. While the plan descriptions are standardized, the costs may vary. This is a tangle that requires investigation and advice.

An alternative to the whole thing is to select a Medicare Advantage plan from an insurance company. This also is an immense tangle that requires investigation and advice.

There are many books and articles on the subject and impartial advisers, as mentioned. There is also an immense marketing campaign that one will be subjected to, most of which is coming from parties pursuing their own interests.
Ron
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Ron »

BTDT wrote:When you apply ask them for the documents you must sign and return to start automatic monthly payment drafting. It gets to be a pain paying the premiums by mail.
Yes; unfortunately you can't (at this time) just set it up online.

FWIW, I have my Medicare payment come out of my checking account every month as did my wife up to the time she filed for spousal SS last year (restricted application) where it now comes out of her monthly payment/deposit.

I still get a "bill" every month, but there is no payment due; it does say that they will deduct it from my account on the 20th. The government (or more directly, the tax payers) could save a bit of money by getting rid of the bill notices, IMHO.

- Ron
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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Dandy wrote:As I recall you can just go on the SS website and apply for Medicare.
Yep. Here's the link for a Medicare-only application:
https://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/apply.html
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heartwood
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by heartwood »

I'm already on SS and Medicare. My wife is in your situation, not receiving SS but will sign up for Medicare before year's end. The advice she's received from her current carrier and from the SS website is to contact SS by phone 3 months before.

My own experiences in signing up for SS and Medicare were surprisingly easy, supported by very knowledgeable SS staff. They're doing this for many peopel every day and really seem to have their act together. I have a lot of respect for the administration of this program. I'd start there rather than reinvent the wheel.
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heartwood
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by heartwood »

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Dandy wrote:As I recall you can just go on the SS website and apply for Medicare.
Yep. Here's the link for a Medicare-only application:
https://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/apply.html
Even better! Thanks
dbr
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dbr »

Ron wrote:
I still get a "bill" every month, but there is no payment due; it does say that they will deduct it from my account on the 20th. The government (or more directly, the tax payers) could save a bit of money by getting rid of the bill notices, IMHO.

- Ron
Right, they automatically shift over to deduction from SS payment without us needing to do anything.

Those billing notices may be needed by some people if they have a Health Care Reimbursement Account and can file for reimbursement for Medicare premiums paid. It is true that an annual receipt for premiums paid would do as well.
Ron
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Ron »

dbr wrote:
Ron wrote:
I still get a "bill" every month, but there is no payment due; it does say that they will deduct it from my account on the 20th. The government (or more directly, the tax payers) could save a bit of money by getting rid of the bill notices, IMHO.

- Ron
Right, they automatically shift over to deduction from SS payment without us needing to do anything.

Those billing notices may be needed by some people if they have a Health Care Reimbursement Account and can file for reimbursement for Medicare premiums paid. It is true that an annual receipt for premiums paid would do as well.
Forgot about that. While I/we have an HRA (Healthcare Reimbursement Account) from my former employer I/we have the option to have our checking credited for the Part B fee from our existing balance automatically "without documentation". However in our case, since we almost tap out the available funds by year end (with Medigap/Part D premium and co-pays), we don't use that option.

- Ron
etarini
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by etarini »

Here's the definitive Medicare document you should read on enrollment:

Enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B

http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11036.pdf

Most people who had health insurance through their employer sign up for Part A and Part B, then add a Part B supplemental policy from a private carrier, and then add a Part D (drugs) policy, also from a private carrier. I have my Part B supplemental and Part D through BlueCross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which was the same carrier as when I was working, so I have access to all the same doctors, and coverage is comparable.

Eric
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dm200
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dm200 »

I did that at 65, then filed for Soc Sec at age 66.

Some local jurisdictions (perhaps states) offer information/advice about various Medicare plans/options/supplements available in that area. I did not use it, but my local county (in Virginia) has such an office and some folks I know found them helpful.

Depending on your area and your situation, I suggest giving serious consideration to enrolling in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or the similar (but less common) Medicare Cost (MC) plan. I have Kaiser's Medicare Cost plan and am very, very happy. Note that such MA and MC plans vary greatly and even plans from the same issuer (such as Kaiser) can vary a lot from one area to another (even in the same state, such as Colorado and California)
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Artsdoctor
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Artsdoctor »

Leeraar,

Congratulations on this next stage of your life! Most people find that qualifying for Medicare is liberating. The premiums can be more affordable and you are far less likely to be surprised by medical bills.

Once someone begins taking social security benefit, his Medicare premium is deducted directed from that check. In your case, you will be responsible for paying your Medicare premiums directly. You should also have a Medicare "secondary"; if Medicare has decided that a $5,000 is only "worth" $1,000, it will pay 80% of that and you will be expected to pay the remaining 20%, and this is what your secondary insurance is for.

You will also need Medicare Part D which is your prescription plan. These plans can vary and you have plenty of time to compare plans. If you've established a good relationship with a neighborhood pharmacist, they will often be able to help you with cost comparisons of your current medication, although this will require work on your part.

Be aware that your Medicare premiums are based of your modified adjusted gross income from the previous tax year. Tax-exempt interest added to your adjusted gross income at the bottom of your Page 1 1040 form so beware. If your recent MAGI is so high that you will be charged a much higher premium that you think you deserve (for example, it included job income and there is no more job), you can petition to have that adjusted.

If you have an HSA, you will need to stop contributing to it once you're on Medicare, but you can use your HSA funds to pay for some of your Medicare-related premiums.

Although the majority of physicians still accept Medicare, you may hear of an increasing number of physicians who are opting out. While this is true, having a non-restrictive Medicare policy will still give you plenty of options. Your supplement will not dictate which doctors you can see unless it's an Advantage plan (for example, if you have Medicare with a Blue Cross supplement, you don't need to find a physician or hospital which accepts Blue Cross--only one that accepts Medicare).

Once you're up and running, you will be surprised at how little paperwork you'll have. Just don't forget to keep track of those premiums since they can definitely be listed on Schedule A for Medical Expense.
2015
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by 2015 »

Would this help?

http://www.amazon.com/Medicare-Dummies- ... or+dummies

I've not read it as I'm not eligible for Medicare yet but have every intention of doing so when the time comes. Much better than trying to sort everything out on the website or relying on those free pamphlets provided by insurance companies, IMHO.
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dm200
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dm200 »

Artsdoctor wrote:Leeraar,

Congratulations on this next stage of your life! Most people find that qualifying for Medicare is liberating. The premiums can be more affordable and you are far less likely to be surprised by medical bills.

Once someone begins taking social security benefit, his Medicare premium is deducted directed from that check. In your case, you will be responsible for paying your Medicare premiums directly. You should also have a Medicare "secondary"; if Medicare has decided that a $5,000 is only "worth" $1,000, it will pay 80% of that and you will be expected to pay the remaining 20%, and this is what your secondary insurance is for.

You will also need Medicare Part D which is your prescription plan. These plans can vary and you have plenty of time to compare plans. If you've established a good relationship with a neighborhood pharmacist, they will often be able to help you with cost comparisons of your current medication, although this will require work on your part.

Be aware that your Medicare premiums are based of your modified adjusted gross income from the previous tax year. Tax-exempt interest added to your adjusted gross income at the bottom of your Page 1 1040 form so beware. If your recent MAGI is so high that you will be charged a much higher premium that you think you deserve (for example, it included job income and there is no more job), you can petition to have that adjusted.

If you have an HSA, you will need to stop contributing to it once you're on Medicare, but you can use your HSA funds to pay for some of your Medicare-related premiums.

Although the majority of physicians still accept Medicare, you may hear of an increasing number of physicians who are opting out. While this is true, having a non-restrictive Medicare policy will still give you plenty of options. Your supplement will not dictate which doctors you can see unless it's an Advantage plan (for example, if you have Medicare with a Blue Cross supplement, you don't need to find a physician or hospital which accepts Blue Cross--only one that accepts Medicare).

Once you're up and running, you will be surprised at how little paperwork you'll have. Just don't forget to keep track of those premiums since they can definitely be listed on Schedule A for Medical Expense.
IF you plan on, or are considering a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Cost plan, check with the provider(s) about exactly how to sign up for Medicare. As best I recall when I signed up for Medicare, I enrolled in both Part A and Part B (but not Part C) first - then after getting my Medicare card - enrolled in the MA/MC plan and that plan had/had the drug benefit (Part C) included in what I enrolled in. Note also that if you enroll in a MA or MC plan, you do not (and in fact cannot) get a Medicare Supplement.

While it may be somewhat difficult to do, I also suggest talking to those enrolled in the various options for Medicare and try to find out if there are "intangible" factors in evaluating your projected/estimate total cost of care/coverage. Small amounts can add up, especially over time. For example, my previous primary care physician and several specialists I saw had offices where it cost $4 to park every time I saw one of them. Now, parking is free. Previously, it was common that I would get referrals for (or see directly, depending on the particular insurance plan) regular multiple specialists. Now, while I do see some specialists, in some cases, my PCP consults a specialist - and the issue is addressed without my seeing (and paying for) the specialist. With centralized records, email and phone access to my PCP (and some specialists), I can address many issues/problems/questions without an in-person appointment (and copay). In the last 4 1/2 years), I am also experiencing that several specialists are concluding that I do not need to see them in-person every year. Although I have no medical/health credentials myself, such less frequent in-person appointments is fully consistent with what I believe to be credible medical/health information.
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Leeraar
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by Leeraar »

Thank you, all.

This thread will be an incredible resource for me. It contains many things I absolutely did not know.

I might remark that I am a minimal consumer of health care resources, so I have no idea how to play the system. My only regular medications are two cups of coffee in the morning, and two glasses of red wine in the evening. I don't do fish oil, vitamins, low-dose aspirin, or any of that. I also do not take any routine prescription medications, in spite of my diagnoses of high cholesterol and low vitamin D.

I do get a checkup every couple of years.

That said, I understand we are talking about insurance, which I should have, in spite of my immediate perceived needs. I will plan on applying for basic Medicare three months before my 65th birthday, and then adding the Part X options, as needed or required.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")
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dm200
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dm200 »

Leeraar wrote:Thank you, all.

This thread will be an incredible resource for me. It contains many things I absolutely did not know.
I might remark that I am a minimal consumer of health care resources, so I have no idea how to play the system. My only regular medications are two cups of coffee in the morning, and two glasses of red wine in the evening. I don't do fish oil, vitamins, low-dose aspirin, or any of that. I also do not take any routine prescription medications, in spite of my diagnoses of high cholesterol and low vitamin D.
That said, I understand we are talking about insurance, which I should have, in spite of my immediate perceived needs. I will plan on applying for basic Medicare three months before my 65th birthday, and then adding the Part X options, if needed.L.
That's great you are not on multiple medications/etc. I hope that means you are basically "healthy" - and plan/hope to stay that way!

I DO take Vitamin D (one of the few supplements recommended by what I believe are the most credible, current health/nutrition advocates). I had been on statins for high cholesterol for a decade. but chantged my "lifestyle" 4 1/2 years ago and got off the statins as well as many decades of blodd pressure medication>

At the same time, I became "aggressive" in getting healthy (quite successful) and fighting back against the age-related (and increasing) forces on our bodies as we get older and (perhaps more important) fall into "lifestyle" choices that are harmful (such as being more sedentary and eating junk).

Good Luck and I definitely recommend evaluating/considering the MA or MC plans that may be available in your area. Some areas (such as here in the Washington DC area) have multiple (and good) MA or MC plans, while other areas have either few/none and/or ones that are not very good.
dbr
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Re: Turning 65, need Medicare, but delaying Social Security

Post by dbr »

Leeraar wrote:Thank you, all.

This thread will be an incredible resource for me. It contains many things I absolutely did not know.

I might remark that I am a minimal consumer of health care resources, so I have no idea how to play the system. My only regular medications are two cups of coffee in the morning, and two glasses of red wine in the evening. I don't do fish oil, vitamins, low-dose aspirin, or any of that. I also do not take any routine prescription medications, in spite of my diagnoses of high cholesterol and low vitamin D.

I do get a checkup every couple of years.

That said, I understand we are talking about insurance, which I should have, in spite of my immediate perceived needs. I will plan on applying for basic Medicare three months before my 65th birthday, and then adding the Part X options, as needed or required.

L.
Please be aware that you could be subject to medical underwriting to buy any supplement insurance if you don't do it within the six month after your 65th birthday open enrollment period. You are well and have little medical need until you aren't. Before you decide to avoid Medigap for the time being investigate this and be darn sure you know what you are doing. Medical underwriting means any insurance company can refuse to insure you or charge you more for the coverage if you have any preexisting condition. Also see here: http://www.medicare.gov/supplement-othe ... digap.html
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