Estate PlanningMedicareRetirement & Social Security

Turning 65 or Retiring: A Must-Do Checklist

By January 29, 2019 April 21st, 2021 One Comment

RetirementIf you are about to turn age 65 and considering retirement, it’s time to consider some things that can greatly affect your finances and healthcare.  If you don’t take Medicare at the right time, you face a lifetime of penalties and will have gaps in coverage.  In the months leading up to your 65th birthday, consider the following:

Health Related Matters

  • Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. Almost everyone age 65 and older is eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A (inpatient care) and Medicare Part B (outpatient care).
  • Consider a Medicare Part C managed care plan. Many people age 65 and older enroll in a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage, HMO or other managed care plan.  These plans replace and provide broader coverage than traditional Medicare Parts A and B.  They are cheaper than the combination of regular Medicare plus a private Medigap supplemental insurance policy.  However they limit the health providers you may use.  Some Part C plans also include prescription drug coverage.
  • Consider a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The high cost of prescription drugs leads the majority of people to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.  This plan provides some reduction in yearly drug costs.
  • Shop for a Medigap insurance policy to supplement Medicare.  Medicare leaves unpaid a large portion of most people’s medical bills. To fill in the gaps in Medicare payments, many people buy private Medigap supplemental insurance policy.  Your right to buy the policy of your choice only lasts until six months AFTER you enroll in Medicare Part B.

Legal and Money Matters

  • Consider long-term care insurance.  A private long-term care insurance policy can help pay for long-term care or residence in an assisted-living facility or nursing home things Medicare doesn’t cover. If you haven’t bought long term care insurance but think you might be interested, now is the time to look into purchasing a policy.
  •  Plan your Social Security benefits claim.  Determine what is your Social Security’s “full retirement age.” The age when you can claim your full social security retirement benefits without any penalty earning an income.  Some people claim reduced benefits at age 62, while others wait until after full retirement age (up to age 70). Deciding when it’s best for you to claim Social Security Benefits for yourself and your family takes a planning.
  • Find out about extra help if you have low income and few assets. There are both full medical coverage and direct financial help available to people 65.  To qualify you need to have a low income and few assets other than their homes.  Medicaid can also pay for long-term in-home care and nursing home residence.  Supplemental Security Income can provide monthly dollars as assistance in addition to Social Security Benefits.
  • Get your legal documents in orderAlthough most 65-year-olds still have many years to live, a sudden illness or accident could make decision making difficult.  Get your legal documents in order to make sure your wishes are followed in times of crisis.  Most people think of health care decisions needing to be made but forget about including end-of-life care.  Now is also the time to start protecting assets against the possible devastating cost of long term care.

Reprinted with permission from

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