When you turn 65, you will not get a letter announcing that it's time to start making decisions about Medicare. But there is a timetable — you can start signing up three months before you turn 65, and you have three months after your birthday month to enroll.
You missed the deadline? You may end up paying higher premiums. But if you're still working and have employer-sponsored health coverage, you probably can wait to sign up.
Here's some help on assessing options and picking plans:
The Four Parts of Medicare
Medicare comes in four parts, and this is where it can get confusing.
Part A is hospital coverage — you are automatically enrolled in Part A when you apply for Medicare.
There are a lot of moving parts to Medicare, so check Medicare.gov to make sure the medicines you take are on the covered lists called formularies. Making the wrong choices can be expensive. You can get phone or in-person help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Programs. The National Committee for Quality Assurance also provides ratings of Medicare Advantage plans. Finally, we're here to help as well.
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