Read this Periscope to learn how we simplify the complex decision of choosing a Medicare plan. Also check out our Healthcare Costs in Retirement and Health Insurance and Healthcare Expense Management.
You have three big decisions to make:
- Age 65, start Medicare Part A (even if you do not plan to use Medicare yet).
- When you are ready to use Medicare, choose either Traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Medicare Part D: Make sure you have insurance to cover the cost of prescriptions.
When you turn 65, make sure to sign up for Medicare part A. Even if you are still working, sign up for Part A and then defer the other Medicare (Parts B and D).
Once you quit working, sign up for Medicare, regardless of the time of year. The first year only you have a Special Enrollment period, and you should sign up for Medicare quickly after you quit working. Choose whether you want Medicare B and D or whether you prefer a Medicare Advantage plan. Every year thereafter, you may change Medicare plans during Medicare Open Enrollment, between October 15th and December 7th of each year.
We often recommend starting your comparison shopping with Traditional Medicare Plan G: the Good plan, the Go-anywhere plan. Compare this to the other Traditional Medicare plans. Each of the Traditional Medicare plans will remove some sort of coverage from plan G. One important benefit of Traditional Medicare is you can take your benefits anywhere.
Then compare your preferred traditional Medicare plan to the list of Medicare Advantage plans. Advantage plans are usually less expensive than Traditional Medicare plans. They are also a one-stop-shop, where you can get other benefits like dental, vision, and more. Many Advantage plans also provide Medicare Plan D: like a one-stop shop.
Finally, make sure you have medicines covered. For people with a number of prescriptions, the Advantage plans can be complicated because some plans charge more than other plans for the same medicines. We would be happy to make an introduction to an expert to help you choose between a Traditional Medicare Plan Part D or one of the Advantage plans.