10 Sep

Confused About Medicare? You’re Not Alone

September 10, 2013

For many Americans, going without health insurance is a gamble that could lead to financial catastrophe. It’s an even bigger gamble for those who are approaching retirement, due to their heightened potential for age-related illnesses and injuries. Retiring without insurance is fine for some people; they may be able to remain on their company’s group plan after separation, or they can rely on a working spouse’s plan. But if you have no plan at all, you need to face reality—quickly!

You’re not alone in this task. Many folks, including 64% of baby boomers, have no idea when they will qualify for Medicare. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), only 36% of baby boomers knew that Medicare eligibility begins at age 65. 21% incorrectly thought that, at age 62, they would become Medicare eligible. The majority of the rest admitted that they had no idea when they would become eligible for Medicare. If this isn’t worrisome enough, many others were unaware that:

  • They face a potential penalty for registering too late for Medicare.
  • All recipients must pay a premium for Medicare insurance.
  • Medicare premiums will be deducted from their Social Security Benefits.

The survey results make it obvious that there’s a lot of confusion surrounding Medicare and how it relates to retirement age and health insurance costs. It gets even more confusing when you throw in Medicare parts A, B, C, and D…plus more options for Medigap policies!

My mother once told me that failure to plan is like planning to fail—and it’s your responsibility to plan for your healthcare needs in retirement. So where can you start? First, visit the official Medicare website at www.Medicare.gov and research the basics; in particular, learn more about the eligibility requirements. You can also contact your financial advisor for assistance. He or she can direct you to various healthcare-related resources, including insurance providers and elder-care specialists.

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