When can I sign up for Medicare?
Because Medicare eligibility begins when you turn 65, you have a window to apply the three months before your 65th birthday, your birthday month, and the three months after to enroll. You will want to make sure you are signing up during this period to avoid any penalties. This includes a 10% surcharge on your Medicare Part B premiums for each year you don’t have coverage. Medicare Part A is typically free, so a late enrollment will not apply to some people.


What if I’m going to continue to work once I celebrate my 65th birthday and have health benefits through my job?
We still recommend you sign up for Medicare Part A during your 7-month window because there isn’t a cost associated with Part A, and it can be used as a secondary health insurance policy. The caveat to this is you are contributing to an Health Savings Account (HSA). Medicare does not allow those who enroll in Medicare to contribute and use an HSA.

If you are going to continue to be employed with a group health plan and your employer has more than 20 employees, you are not required to sign up for Medicare during that 7-month window when you turn 65. If your company employs less than 20 people, you will need to enroll in Medicare Part A and B and use those plans as your primary health insurance.

But let’s say you are going to continue to be employed with a company that has over 20 employees. You can delay your Medicare enrollment, including Part B, and your 8-month enrollment window will begin the month after you quit your job. In that situation, you will not be penalized for signing up “late”.


Why am I being called to purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance six months before I turn 65?
Believe it or not, there is some strategy involved with this early process. Some companies allow you to lock in a rate six months in advance of turning 65. If you know you want a Medicare supplement and you want to go with certain companies like Anthem, Aetna, or Cigna, for example, you may be able to lock in a rate. An exception to this is AARP. AARP will only allow you to lock in a rate three months in advance. It varies on the company and the state you’re in, but that’s why the insurance companies are calling you now.


I have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Do all hospitals accept Humana, Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare?
No. Hospitals accept the insurance companies that they’ve contracted with their Medicare Advantage company. That means your PPO or HMO Medicare Advantage plan might not be contracted with the hospital of your choice. In the case of an emergency, Medicare Advantage does allow you to go to the ER at the non-covered hospital. But if you’re stabilized after you have a heart attack, for example, and you’re admitted to hospital that is not in your network, your insurance plan might not cover it at all. Or, you might have to pay a higher copay because it’s out of network. So, if you buy a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to keep that in mind in an emergency situation.


I’m 65 and now that I can get Medicare, I want to retire. The problem is, my spouse is only 64. Obamacare is too expensive. What are our options for her healthcare?There are options for people under 65, specifically for people in your situation where a younger spouse is close to Medicare age, but not quite there yet. That is called short-term medical insurance. If you are in this situation, contact Osiwala Financial Group and our Medicare Specialist can explain your options.



Do I need an insurance agent to help me sign up for the government Medicare Part B and Part D?
You don’t need somebody to help you sign up for Medicare Part B. You can go online or to your local Social Security office. While you can do it yourself, it’s important to remember that you do not have to pay an insurance agent. Therefore, we always advise people to get help from a specialist, because Medicare can be confusing, and mistakes can be costly. Regarding Medicare Part D, which is your prescription coverage, that must be purchased from a private insurance company.

Are you turning 65 and have more questions about Medicare? Contact Osiwala Financial Group HERE and request an in-office or telephone appointment to discover all of your options to continue your health care plan in retirement.