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How to Retire and Enroll in Medicare

Planning for retirement means budgeting for your healthcare needs. Most people at retirement age are ready to join Medicare. Medicare is the federally funded health insurance plan that offers health insurance to multiple groups of people, but most notably people 65 and older. If you are getting ready to retire and want to learn more about Medicare, keep reading!

Medicare Eligibility

Medicare is made for 3 different types of people: people 65 and older, younger people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and younger people with disabilities. People who are ready to retire typically fall under the first category, people 65 and older. Therefore, we will focus on the eligibility of that group today. To qualify for Medicare as someone 65 and up, you have to meet these requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen 
  • Be a permanent legal resident of the U.S. for at least 5 years
  • You or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (ten years)

If you meet these criteria, you can enroll in Medicare.

The Enrollment Periods

There are certain time periods in which you can enroll in Medicare or make changes to your plan. They are the:

  • Initial Enrollment Period
  • Special Enrollment Period 
  • General Enrollment Period 
  • Annual Enrollment Period

As a person newly enrolling in Medicare during retirement, you will need to pay special attention to the Initial Enrollment Period. However, below each of the enrollment periods explained briefly in more detail so that you have a better understanding of the timing of Medicare.

Initial Enrollment

  • This is the best time for people to enroll in Medicare. It begins three months before you turn 65 and then ends three months after. If you delay your enrollment past this period, you could end up having to pay late enrollment penalties.

Special Enrollment Period

  • If you did delay your enrollment, it’s possible to be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, which would keep you from having to pay that late enrollment penalty. However, to take advantage of this period, you have to qualify for it. You can give us a call today to learn more about qualifying for the Special Enrollment Period.

General Enrollment Period

  • This period is also used as another opportunity to enroll in Medicare if you delayed your initial enrollment. However, with this period, you will have to pay a late enrollment penalty. This period begins on January 1 and ends March 31.

Annual Enrollment Period

  • This period is for those enrolled in Medicare. It allows you to review and make changes to your coverage. For example, if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but are not happy with it, you can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan or even switch back to Original Medicare.

If you are 65 and older, you will need to apply during the Initial Enrollment Period. This means that you have to apply in the 7-month window surrounding your birthday. If you do not apply during this time, you will have to wait until the General Enrollment Period. If you are newly eligible for Medicare and do not already receive Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you have to sign up for Medicare through Social Security.

If you already receive social security or RRB benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B (Part A only if in Puerto Rico).

Choosing a Medicare plan, understanding the eligibility requirements, and understanding the enrollment periods can be confusing. An agent is always ready to help you at Proinsurance Hawaii. Contact us today!