Congratulations! Turning 65 is a milestone. You’ve worked hard and hopefully saved enough for retirement. Either way, this is the time to make some necessary decisions regarding your healthcare and finances. The following is a turning 65 checklist to help guide you through this critical period.
Enroll in Original Medicare Part A and Part B
The time to enroll in Original Medicare begins three months before the first day of the month of your 65th birthday and continues for a total of seven months. If you miss this opportunity, you will have another chance each year during the annual General Enrollment Period (GEP). The GEP begins each year on January 1st and ends March 31st. For more information see “How to Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.”
Buy a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan
Original Medicare only covers 80% of your healthcare costs. To fill the gap, you will need to consider purchasing a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan. Choosing the right plan can be confusing. Speak with a licensed insurance agent who can clearly explain your options. For more information on the difference between these two types of plans, see “Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Advantage.”
Consider Buying a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)
Your Prescription Drug Benefits with Original Medicare is very limited. You will want to take advantage of the benefits of owning a Prescription Drug Plan, especially if you own a Medicare Supplement also known as Medigap Plan. Under some Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage is included in your benefits. If you’re unsure, speak with your insurance agent.
Consider Buying a Long-Term Care or Home Health Care Policy
Original Medicare will only cover skilled nursing care. To be fully protected you will need to purchase Long-Term Care or Home Health Care insurance. If you become ill and require care, not being covered can be financially devastating.
Speak with a Tax Advisor
As retirement nears, you will want to prepare for changes to your tax status. Talk with your accountant regarding your Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one. The impact of Social Security benefits and how to start managing your potential tax liabilities on your qualified accounts, such as an annuity, 401k, and other IRA savings when you start taking required distributions at age 70 1/2.
Speak with Your Attorney
Most 65 year-olds still have a long time to live. However, this is a perfect time to make sure your legal documents are in order. Being prepared will help protect your wishes in the case of a sudden illness or accident. You will want to prepare a will, a power of attorney for finances along with a living will.
Turning 65 Be Prepared
Turning 65 means you are entering the golden years of your life. Spending a little time and effort now will make a tremendous difference in the future. Being prepared gives you the peace of mind to enjoy the coming years.