Learn about Medicare and the choices you have.
If you are already receiving Social Security, when you turning 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A which covers hospitalizations, blood transfusions during hospitalization, home health care, hospice care, and stays in skilled nursing facilities.
If not, go to the Medicare web site or visit your local Social Security office either three months before your birthday month, on your birthday month, or no later than three months after your birthday month. This is your eligibility window.
With regards to Medicare Part B, if you don't sign up during your eligibility window, but then decide to enroll later, your premium goes up 10% for each 12 month period. As an example, if you wait five years to sign up, your premium would then be 50% higher than someone who signed up on time.
Remember that Part B which pays 80% of doctors, supplies, outpatient services, physical or speech therapy does not have a cap after the 80% is paid by Medicare. At this point, most people would buy a separate private Medicare Supplement plan, often referred to as a Medigap plan, which picks up where Medicare leaves off.
Medicare Advantage - Part C
If you are all right with managed care and visiting doctors within the plan's network, a Medicare Advantage Plan may work for you. However, if you want some flexibility, you travel a lot, or you spend your time between two homes, Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Part D Prescription Drug Plan is usually a better choice.
If you have health insurance through your work or your spouse's work, you can delay enrolling in part B. But if your employer has fewer than 20 workers or if you are on a company retirement plan, you must enroll in Part B as soon as you turn 65. Your workplace or retiree plan will become your secondary plan.
You will need to check your Part D Plan every year because the list of covered drugs can change.