“The generation that sent diaper sales soaring in the 1960s, bought power suits in the 1980s and indulged in luxury cars in the 2000s is getting ready to retire: The oldest boomers turn 65 this year … But there’s a catch: Baby boomers, famously demanding and rebellious, don’t want anyone suggesting they’re old.”
That’s right. Don’t tell me I’m old. Also don’t tell me what to do.
Meanwhile, I have no problem telling you what to do. And if you’re also turning 65 this year, there is one thing you need to know and it’s very important: Sign up for Medicare and the supplemental Medigap plans you need during your eligibility period. Put if off and you could be paying higher premiums for the rest of your life.
CNN somewhat agrees with me in its list of three things you should do before your 65th birthday:
“1. Get set with Medicare.
2. Slash your taxes.
3. Assess retirement plans.”
US News and World Report also published a list of 7 Tips for Baby Boomers Turning 65 in 2011 and like CNN, they recommend getting your Medicare benefits right from the get-go:
“You can first sign up for Medicare during a seven-month window beginning three months before the month you turn 65. Sign up during the months leading up to your 65th birthday if you want your coverage to begin the month you turn 65. (If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage can start as early as the first day of the prior month.) If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during this initial enrollment period, your premiums may increase by 10 percent for each 12-month period that you delay enrollment.”
Are you seeing a trend here? Obviously signing up for Medicare during your window of eligibility is very important but both articles fail to tell you why.
Here’s why: If you miss that seven-month window to sign up for Medicare, you could be penalized for the rest of your life, especially with certain plans.
You can see Medicare.gov’s complicated explanation of the Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) for Plan D, or the About.com’s Insurance page makes it pretty simple:
“How much the late enrollment penalty will cost you depends on how long you did not have creditable prescription drug coverage….Since the “national base beneficiary premium” may increase each year, the penalty amount may also increase every year. You may have to pay this penalty for as long as you have a Medicare drug plan.”
If you miss signing up for Plan D, then there is no MAY have to pay higher premiums. The fact is you WILL ALWAYS pay more, according to California Health Advocates, “For beneficiaries age 65 and older, this penalty is for life, and you will always pay more for your Part B coverage than other people.”
There, you’re prepared to turn 65. Now get off my lawn.