are you turning 65?

If you are NOT receiving Social Security benefits prior to turning 65, you need to contact the Social Security Administration to sign up for Medicare. You have a seven month window to do this, beginning three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your 65th birthday. Remember that the later you sign up, the later your Medicare benefits will begin.

  1. Medicare Part A is premium free to most beneficiaries and covers costs associated with a hospitalization. The beneficiary is responsible for a deductible that changes annually and Medicare will pick up the remainder of hospital charges.  Medicare Part B has a monthly premium and deductible, Part B typically pays 80% of the cost for your physician and any other outpatient services and the beneficiary is responsible for the remaining 20%. Importantly, if either you or your spouse is gainfully employed and your insurance is provided through that employment, you may defer enrollment in Part B. You should discuss this with Social Security when you initially sign up. You also have options such as Medicare Supplement Plans (MEDIGAP) or Medicare Advantage Plans to assist you with these costs.  
  2. Medicare Part D helps beneficiaries with the cost of prescriptions. There are a number of plans available in Massachusetts and if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan you need to get your prescriptions through that plan.

The best source for answers to questions about these benefits is SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) Counselor. 

To make an appointment with a Counselor call your local senior center or call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) option #3.

Are you on MEDICARE because of a disability? 

The above information also applies to you. The SHINE Program is available to disabled MEDICARE beneficiaries of all ages to help you understand this information and guide you through the process of signing up for Medicare. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a special health insurance program for people with disabilities. Call SHINE for more information.