Officially enrolled in Medicare l Insightful Investing

By Jeffrey Moormeier | Feb 13, 2019

I enrolled in Medicare today. It was pretty simple in my case. I am not sure I am ready for this, as I have not gotten used to the fact that I am old enough for Medicare. I did it anyway.

Friends have been calling me to ask, "How do I enroll?"

I usually tell them that I don't know. Now I know. I will explain the process I went through with the caveat that the process is different for some people.

In my case, I enrolled online; it took less than 10 minutes.

There are some prerequisites that I established years ago, namely a Social Security user ID and password. I obtained one of these 10 years ago by going to the Social Security website and applying to review my benefits. Social Security is a separate matter, but the application sites are the same.

To apply for Medicare, I went to www.medicare.gov site and clicked on the "Sign Up / Change Plans" link. This link took me to a very detailed information link that covered all the options.

From there I signed into "my Social Security." In my case, I applied for Medicare only.  Since Medicare and Social Security are connected, you need to determine for which type of benefit or benefits you are applying.

In my case, I am not collecting Social Security, and I am applying for part A only. Part A benefits are required when you reach the age of 65.

Part B may be suspended, with C and D being optional. You have seven months to enroll.  The seven-month enrollment clock starts ticking when you are 64 and nine months old.  The clock runs out when you are 65 and three months old.

A side note here, now I know why my mother always referred to my age in months. She was preparing me for the Medicare enrollment clock.

In my case, my wife has excellent health care benefits, and there is no need for me to enroll in Parts B, C or D at this time. I will do that when she retires, and our health insurance from her employer ceases.

As a reminder, Part A is the facilities, Part B is the people, Part C is the Medicare Advantage Plan, and Part D is the drug benefits.

In preparation for my online enrollment, I needed some specific information. What day did my wife begin working at the company where our health benefits are located? Once I had this information the application process took less than a few minutes.

Within a few seconds of me hitting the submit application button, I received a confirmation email from Social Security.

It said my application was received and I could check on the status by logging into the site. I then shoveled ten inches of snow out of my driveway.

I texted a friend who is 63 and let him know that I enrolled in Medicare.

His reply to me was that he “couldn't wait." He is retired and is paying $20,000 a year for medical insurance with an $8,000 deductible. I suppose age has its privileges.

It is imperative to enroll in Medicare when you reach the age of 65. If you do not enroll on time your benefits may end up costing you more money. If you don't sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window, you'll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you're eligible for coverage but don't enroll. Therefore, it generally pays to sign up for Medicare at 65 - unless you happen to qualify for one major exception.

The week before I began my enrollment process, I was skiing Easter and Lookout Bowls at Sun Valley, from top to bottom without stopping in gnarly "chicken head" conditions.  OK, I just lied. I crashed out at the end of the second run, totally exhausted.

These runs are the longest mogul runs I have ever skied and to be honest, I impressed myself. Not bad for a guy who just signed up for Medicare.

Age is mostly a number. I am glad that I did not need to see a doctor afterward.

All kidding aside, the process to enroll is easy but not always simple.

You should have a good grip on what benefits you need and how to enroll in both Social Security and Medicare.

For many years, I left people to their own when it came to these choices, now I have experience.

Feel free to get in touch with my office for help. I have resources to help make these decisions more manageable for you.

OK, that is all for now.

 

Jeffrey Moormeier of JG Moormeier Financial is a Mukilteo-based financial advisor affiliated with KMS Financial Services, Inc. an SEC registered investment adviser. His column does not represent the opinions of KMS, nor is it an official prediction or recommendation of any kind. The opinions expressed in this column are generalizations. For advise catered to your specific financial circumstances, contact Jeff directly at jeff@jgmoormeier.com or 425-931-8898.

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