By Cass Grange, Senior Advisor Associate and Director of Business Development
If you turn 65 in 2019 and are not covered by an employer health plan, you must sign up for Medicare. You can do this up to three months in advance of your birthday. We recommend you sign up as early as possible.
When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.
If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Includes the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
If you wait until the month you turn 65 (or the 3 months after you turn 65) to enroll, your Part B coverage will be delayed. This could cause a gap in your coverage. In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Parts B and D when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have them which continues for the rest of your life.
With some milestones, a birthday is the signal that we need to make a transition. Sometimes the signals aren’t as clear as a birthday.
As advisors, part of our role is to help clients plan for the future; to see clearly what stage of life they and their loved ones are in now, to understand where they are headed, and to prepare now for those eventualities. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some of it involves making financial decisions, but much more of it involves confronting highly emotional decisions. We bring up the discussion of moving to senior living and getting household help to ease into the next transition. We talk about simplifying the financial process. So talk to your advisor about what is ahead for you and for your family, both the challenges and the opportunities.