Detail Your Retirement Goals

With more than 3.7 million Americans turning 65 next year and eligible for Medicare, choosing a specific health insurance plan that is consistent with your retirement goals and needs could be one of the most important financial planning decisions you will make. Medicare coverage after age 65 is a valuable benefit, but the options available will change over the next few years. Your financial adviser can help you choose a plan that suits your pension needs.

As you navigate the enrollment process, it can be complex to compare benefits and weigh the benefits of different plans, such as deductibles, copies and co-pay, as well as insurance costs. 

If you want help paying for expenses that are not covered by original Medicare, you can take out a Medicare supplement insurance plan, also known as Medigap. Compare Medicare supplement plans before you decide on the plan that’s right for you. If you’d rather buy insurance that includes Medicare Advantage plans like Medicare Part D or Medicare Plan B, you might want to get a Medicare Advantage plan. Medigap insurance plans are designed to supplement your original Medicare coverage, but are also available through private insurance companies.

Premiums on Medicare Advantage plans may vary depending on the plan and insurance company you choose, as well as the type of coverage available to you.

When you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you continue to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium for the rest of your life, even after retirement.

Prescription drugs are optional, but you can get them if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part C, or Medicare Supplement Plan. Make sure you don’t get Medicare coverage for prescription drugs when you first qualify, or you’ll have to pay a penalty for late enrollment. If you choose Medicare Part C to ensure Medicare coverage, you should familiarize yourself with the plan options available to you before choosing the health insurance that best suits your needs.

That means you’ll have to wait two years after your IEP to sign up for Medicare Part B and pay an additional monthly premium of $20 to have it, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

With limited exceptions, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says you must pay a late enrollment fee to cover Medicare drugs if you don’t enroll. The difference between enrollment in a Medicare prescription plan and non-enrollment is calculated from the number of months you reveal that you are eligible for Medicare Part D, as well as from your IEP.

If you are still working when you are 65, have adequate health insurance through your employer, but have decided to defer Medicare Part B because it comes with a monthly premium, you can qualify for a special enrollment period that lasts eight months after you retire or after your employer’s coverage ends.

It is a good idea to ensure that you enroll in Medicare at the time you plan to retire, bearing in mind that you may incur a penalty for late enrollment because you do not have adequate health insurance coverage if you do not enroll in Medicare on time but avoid late enrollment penalties.

Enter your ZIP code in the form to see a list of all Medicare plans in your area, and enter your ZIP code in the “Form.”

If you are in an original Medicare plan, you can purchase Medicare supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap insurance. Medicare has several loopholes and does not pay for all the health services you may need. This is health insurance that helps you pay for the cost of the original Medicare program, but does not cover care for you.

These plans fill different gaps in your Medicare coverage and offer different benefits. These plans differ in price, but they all offer the same basic benefits as health insurance coverage, deductibles, and copying.

These plans won’t get you to give up medicine without losing your health insurance, but they do cover prescription drugs for certain diseases, such as heart disease.

Also bear in mind that your spouse or dependents are not eligible for Medicare benefits and may need different insurance if you give up your retirement plan. Some employers require you to join an employer – the subsidized Medicare Advantage plan – in order to continue receiving your retiree’s health benefits after you become eligible for Medicare. Instead of offering retirement insurance, some employers sponsor a Medicare plan for their employees, such as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or Medicare Part D.

If you have Medicare, you can no longer contribute to your HSA, but you can use the cash tax – free of charge – to pay medical costs that Medicare does not cover. This can come as a shock to some retirees, because Medicare typically does not cover long-term care costs, such as medical bills, dental, vision, and other medical services. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), 12 million retirees need some form of long-term care for their health care.

It is important to note with our changing times, that with telehealth adoption at record levels and both providers and patients calling for continued coverage, federal and state governments are under pressure to make those emergency measures permanent, as reported on mHealthIntelligence.com. Congress is under particular pressure to pass laws expanding telehealth coverage, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has signaled a willingness to review and likely revise its guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

“Americans have benefited significantly from this expansion of telehealth and have come to rely on its availability,” the letter, dated June 15, reads. “Congress should expand access to telehealth services on a permanent basis so that telehealth remains an option for all Medicare beneficiaries both now and after the pandemic. Doing so would assure patients that their care will not be interrupted when the pandemic ends. It would also provide certainty to health care providers that the costs to prepare for and use telehealth would be a sound long-term investment.”