When you turn 65, there’s a lot of things to think about, like retirement, trips you want to take, and activities you want to enjoy. It’s also the time to think about your healthcare needs. Medicare is great, but it can also be confusing. That’s why we’re here to help. Here are five Medicare basics you should know before you enroll.

Green stethoscope and pen on top of medical bill.

People enrolled in Medicare will have to pay regular premiums for coverage, as well as copayments for individual appointments.

Medicare Coverage Isn’t Free

An important Medicare basic you should be aware of is that Medicare coverage isn’t free. You certainly won’t be spending the same amount on coverage as you would for private health insurance, but you will still be paying.

People enrolled in Medicare will have to pay regular premiums for coverage, as well as copayments for individual appointments. It’s also important to keep in mind if you have a higher income, the law requires your Medicare Part B and Part D premiums to be adjusted, meaning you’ll pay more. This affects less than five percent of people with Medicare, but if there is ever a problem and you believe you are paying too much, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

You Can Sign Up for Medicare Even if You Already Have Health Coverage

Many people continue to work once they turn 65, and will get health insurance through their employer. If this is the case for you, you don’t have to decide which insurance you should choose. If you want to retain your employer’s health coverage and also get coverage through Medicare, you’re allowed to do so! In that case, you’d use Medicare as your secondary insurance.

Keep in mind if you decide to go that route, it’s important that you contact your employer-based health plan administrator to find out how the plan will work with Medicare.

You’ll Need to Enroll by 65

Medicare eligibility begins when you turn 65. This is when most people start their retirement and will need to sign up for Medicare. If you’re a retiree that doesn’t sign up for Medicare when you become eligible, you can suffer from late penalties.

Even though you’ll need to sign up at 65, Medicare gives you a nice window of time to enroll. You’re allowed to start enrolling three months before your 65th birthday month and you’ll have three months after your birthday month to complete enrollment. This means they give you seven months to get enrolled in Medicare. When in doubt, enroll early. It will save you money and ensure you have the coverage you need.

Pair of eyeglasses sitting on top of black and white eye exam.

Medicare won’t cover ongoing vision care. 

What Medicare Doesn’t Cover

Medicare is great and covers your health care, but it’s important to know the Medicare basics of what it doesn’t cover. It generally does not cover long-term care. Under certain circumstances, like after a hospitalization to treat an acute-care episode, Medicare will pay for medically necessary home health care or a nursing facility. But they usually won’t cover care that helps with daily living activities, like bathing or dressing.

They also will not cover routine dental, vision, or hearing care or treatments. Unless there is a medically necessary reason for one of those services, you’ll need to find another way to cover the costs.

Medicare Plans are Individual

The most important Medicare basic you should know is that Medicare plans are all individual. When you enroll in private health insurance or sign up for coverage through an employer, you can enroll dependents at the same time. With Medicare, you can’t.

Medicare policies are individual policies only. If you and your spouse are both turning 65 in the same year, you can’t sign them up with you when you become eligible for Medicare. This isn’t a bad thing though. This allows you to get the very best plan for your needs. Not all plans work for everyone, and when it comes to Medicare, you can build a plan that will support you and your health needs best.

Let Jeffery Insurance Lend a Hand

Even with these Medicare basics in your back pocket, you might find signing up for Medicare confusing. We get it! But we’re here to guide you through every step and help set you up with the plan that works for you. We are based in Scottsdale but are happy to help you no matter where you are in Arizona. We are Arizona’s health care resource!