After looking back at your career and at all your options for the future, you may decide that retiring at the age of 70 is the best option for you. After you retire, you’ll have more time to spend with your family and friends. You also may be able to pick up an additional hobby or explore new places around the country or the world.

However, you’ll also need to consider what to do regarding health insurance. Medicare is the government-sponsored insurance that is available to everyone over the age of 65 and those with long-term disabilities. However, since you are retiring after this age, you should know what steps you need to take and when to take them to ensure you maintain optimal health coverage.

What Does Medicare Coverage Include?

Medicare has multiple plans available, with the most common options being Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Medicare Part A and Part B are the two most popular options as they come standard for most Medicare recipients. Part C or Part D plans can also be selected depending on if they fit a specific recipient’s needs.

Every eligible recipient receives Part A coverage when they enroll in Medicare. For individuals who are at least 65 years of age and have worked for more than 10 years while paying Medicare taxes, or whose spouse is 62 years of age has worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years, there will be no premium fee for Part A. However, if neither of these circumstances apply, you will be required to pay a premium payment. This fee can be waived later on if the work and tax paying requirements are met after a few years.

Part B is also generally utilized by most Medicare recipients. Part B covers outpatient care and preventive services. However, unlike Part A, Part B does require a premium payment for all recipients. Additionally, Part B can be declined for individuals not wishing to have outpatient coverage or who receive this coverage from another entity. However, if you decide that you would like to add Part B coverage after the fact, it can result in a delay in coverage and higher premium payments.

Medicare Part D provides prescription medication coverage. It often requires a premium payment and is usually associated with a copayment or coinsurance for individual prescriptions. While this coverage is not required, it can be extremely beneficial for individuals who take a lot of medications or who suffer from chronic conditions. When you consider Part D coverage, take into account your future needs and unexpected medical events that may occur. Even if you don’t take medications regularly, changes in your health that require medications could be costly if you do not have insurance.

Medicare Part C, or a Medicare Advantage Plan, is another option provided by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans provide the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B, and they can also include coverage for other items, such as prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and other specialties.

When Do You Need to Enroll in Medicare Coverage?

The initial open enrollment period for Medicare Part A and Part B begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your birthday. Even if you are continuing to work past your sixty-fifth birthday, it is important to sign up for Medicare, especially if you have worked for more than 10 years. This will allow you to receive Part A coverage at no additional cost.

When it comes to Part B, you are eligible to enroll during the same initial enrollment period as Part A. To avoid increased premium fees or coverage delays, this is ideal unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

A Special Enrollment Period may apply to you if you are over the age of 65 and you currently have healthcare coverage from a group plan through either your or your spouse’s employment. If this applies, you will still be able to enroll in Part B coverage during any month that you still have coverage from the other plan. In addition, you will have an eight-month period that begins the month after your coverage ends or you retire, whichever comes first.

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