Many things change when celebrating your 65th birthday. For one thing, if you haven’t already retired, chances are good that you’ve set a retirement date and it’s not too far away. There are a number of things to be considered, advises the article “Points to ponder before turning 65” from Knox News.
The year you turn 65 is the year that you enroll in Medicare. Coverage begins at age 65, and the initial window to enroll opens three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. Miss that deadline, and there may be penalties when you do at last sign up for Medicare.
You can sign up for Medicare whether you are working or not. If you are turning 65 and already collecting Social Security, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You’ll need to sign up for Part D to avoid penalties unless you have coverage through a spouse’s employer.
Here are some details:
- Part A covers hospital care and is generally free for enrollees.
- Part B covers diagnostic and preventive care. You pay for it with a monthly premium.
- If you’re still working at age 66 and have health insurance through your employer, you may choose not to enroll in Part B. You can sign up for Part A, at no cost, and delay Parts B and D.
- If you’re still working past 65 and have creditable coverage through your employer or your spouse’s employer, then you can defer Medicare.
Note that you may not get a full monthly benefit if you claim Social Security right away. You can begin collecting Social Security at the young age of 62, but you won’t get the full monthly benefit that you otherwise would get unless you wait until you reach full retirement age. That date depends upon your date of birth. For most people turning 65 in 2020, that means full retirement age is 66 plus two months. Is it worth the wait? Your monthly benefit shrinks by 7.8% if you file for benefits at age 65.
This is the time to check on your estate planning documents. If you don’t have these already, speak with an estate planning attorney to make sure that you and your family are protected by the following:
- General Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- HIPAA release
- Revocable Living Trust
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Last Will and Testament
It’s a great birthday to celebrate, but be certain that you take care of the estate planning, Medicare, and Social Security aspects of your life as you prepare for this milestone.
Reference: Knox News (December 26, 2019) “Points to ponder before turning 65”