The first thing you should do is use a broker when searching for the right Medicare plan. You don’t want to sit with a captive agent because all they can show you is the one singular company they sell whereas a broker can show you multiple companies in the market.
I say work with a broker because there are so many plans on the market with different benefits you could end up costing yourself a lot of money and not getting the benefits you were originally looking for.
I can’t tell you how many times I visit with seniors who have been on Medicare for years and realized after I present to them they’ve been over-paying or have missing benefits that could end up costing them more. And some I sit with can’t get the more affordable plans now because they’ve become unhealthy over the years and another medigap company will not consider them.
After I sit with folks they tell me how thankful they are that I showed them how Medicare works and wish they called me years ago.
The first thing a senior has to do decide is if they are going to continue working or if they are going to retire. If you decided on retiring chances are you will lose your employers benefits so therefore you must sign up for Medicare Part B.
If you are working and you turn the age of 65 you will get a Medicare card in the mail with your name, Medicare number and effective date for Part A. There is no monthly premium for Part A but there is a monthly premium for Part B.
If you decide to continue working after age 65 make sure you do not sign up for Part B because social security will bill you quarterly for it and then you are paying for it without using it. Some seniors make the mistake of signing up for Part B when they are still covered under their employers plan.
The premium that you are charged for Part B will depend on your lifetime income and social security will let you know what bracket you fall into.
If you elect to take Part B and take your social security income the premium will be deducted on a monthly basis from your social security.
If you are not taking your social security income you will get billed quarterly from social security.
I outline these steps because I sit with seniors every day and they are anxious about getting on Medicare and are ready to sign up for a Medicare plan but never took the proper steps to sign up for Part B. If you want a medigap plan or an advantage plan you must have Part A and Part B in place first.
If these steps are not taken by the Medicare recipient, it could prolong their process of getting onto Medicare and could find themselves with a lapse of insurance coverage.
So something I want to add which is very important, do not throw mail away from social security. I find a lot of times when seniors get mail from social security they throw it in the trash thinking it’s more Medicare advertising when in fact a lot of times it is their Medicare card arriving in the mail.
Once everything is in place regarding your Medicare Part A&B your next step is to learn about the difference between medigap and advantage plans and also see if you need a Part D plan.
Joe Bachmeier is one of the founders of BGA Insurance Group, located in the Philadelphia area. If you would like to setup a retirement consultation feel free to call us at (855) 494-0097 or email us as [email protected]