Everyone has lots of questions about their health and financial security as they age. Here are seven questions you should answer before you turn 65 with links to simple information to help you decide what to do:
1. Do you need to sign up for Medicare?
It depends on whether you have employer coverage and what kind you have. If you do need Medicare, enrollment is generally automatic if you have signed up for Social Security. You may also need to sign up for supplemental coverage.
2. What about Medicaid?
Medicaid can pick up many of your health care costs that Medicare does not cover. Whether you qualify might depend on where you live. Depending upon your state of residence, you might lose the option of traditional Medicare if you enroll in Medicaid. There are programs in addition to Medicaid to help you if your income is low.
3. What will your Social Security benefits be when you retire and when should you sign up for benefits?
4. Should you enroll in traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan?
It depends on the kind of coverage that's important to you and whether you want as much choice of doctors and hospitals as possible. It also depends on how much you are willing and able to pay to get the coverage you need.
5. Should you sign up for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?
In most cases, yes, if you need drug coverage. But, you should understand the limits to that coverage and when your drugs will be covered.
6. Are you prepared if you need long-term services and supports?
- Medicare provides very limited coverage; for people with low incomes, Medicaid provides very good coverage
- Seven out of ten older adults will need long-term services and supports
- Americans spend a lot out of pocket for long-term services and supports
- How can you plan for your long-term services and support needs?
7. Do you have a living will and medical power of attorney, Advance Directives?