A: It’s a good idea to begin investigating your Medicare options at least one year in advance ofyour 65th birthday so that you have time to evaluate your situation. Part of your decision will bedriven by whether you are working and covered by creditable health insurance through youremployer or your spouse’s coverage, and the cost of that coverage.
You will have a 7-month Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that includes the month youturn 65, 3 months before and 3 months after. If you have been receiving Social Securitybenefits for at least 4 months prior to the month you turn 65, you will automatically get BOTHPart A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. (If your birthday is on the firstday of the month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month.)
If you decide to delay your Part B coverage, you must refuse Part B before your Medicarecoverage has started. You can do this by either:
1. Following the instructions that come with the card and send the card back. If you keepthe card, you are keeping Part B and will need to pay the Part B premiums.2. Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
If you decide to delay your Part B coverage, you will also need to be aware of the differencebetween the Enrollment Period for Original Medicare vs. the Special Enrollment Period forMedicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Coverage. If you live in New York, you may want totake advantage of strategies available based on rules and regulations regarding underwritinghere. You can also seek the guidance of a licensed insurance agent that specializes in Medicarehealth plans to help you sort through your options.