If you’re planning on retiring in 2024, then there are a few critical things that you need to know about Medicare enrollment. Whether you’re turning 65 or are older and just now retiring, your options for signing up for Medicare for the first time are the same.
This guide will review the most important things to know about Medicare, Medicare Enrollment Periods, Medicare Supplement Plans, and more.
Key Takeaways: Medicare Enrollment for Individuals Retiring in 2024
- MAKE A PLAN: New retirees should start planning for the switch to Medicare at least six months before retirement. Remember to consider how Medicare enrollment might affect your spouse or other dependents’ health coverage. Consulting with a no-charge Personal Benefits Manager can be the most expedient way to choose a plan.
- MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Identify when your enrollment period will begin. For people turning 65, Medicare Initial Enrollment begins 3 months before your 65th birthday. If you have delayed Medicare enrollment because you were still working, your 8-month Special Enrollment Period begins when you lose your group coverage.
- ENROLL WHEN YOU’RE FIRST ELIGIBLE: Not enrolling right away puts you at risk of late enrollment penalties and higher rates.
- GET ONGOING EDUCATION & RESOURCES: The MediGap Advisors’ Health and Wealth Newsletter is a free monthly publication with the latest tips, tricks, and expert advice about managing and maximizing your Medicare plan. Click here to sign up.
CHECKLIST: Retiring at 65 and Enrolling in Medicare Part A and B
If you’re retiring right when you turn 65, Medicare enrollment is mostly automatic, but not entirely. Here are the steps you need to take:
1.) Look for Your Medicare Card in the Mail
If you’re signed up for Social Security and are no longer receiving group coverage, you will be enrolled in Part A and Part B. Your Medicare card, as well as your coverage information, will arrive in the mail a few months before your 65th birthday.
2.) Choose a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan
Part A and Part B can pay most of your medical costs in retirement, but between premiums, deductibles, and non-covered costs, your annual out-of-pocket costs will be considerable.
Both Medigap and Medicare Advantage are viable ways to bring down your out-of-pocket risk. This is also the most effective way to add coverage for things like vision, hearing, dental, long-term care, and more.
Here are some resources for choosing between Medigap and Medicare Advantage:
- The Anatomy of a Great Medicare Supplement Plan [4-minute read]
- Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Advantage [5-minute read]
3.) Use Your Personal Benefits Manager to Make Plan Changes from Year to Year
Most people will not need to change their Medicare plan every year. But if you experience changes to your retirement income, your health, or your number of dependents, then changing plans can be necessary.
CHECKLIST: Enrolling in Medicare in 2024 During Your Special Enrollment Period
If you’ve stopped working and are signed up for Social Security, then your Original Medicare benefits will begin automatically. Most people will receive their Medicare card in the mail about 3 months before their 65th birthday.
If you worked past 65 and are retiring for the first time, then you need to take the following steps to sign up for Medicare:
1.) Find Out If Your Group Plan Includes Retiree Coverage, and How it Works with Medicare
Some employers offer retiree insurance, which is designed to provide additional health coverage on top of Medicare. Most retiree policies pay second to Medicare, and some are no longer valid after you become eligible for Medicare.
2.) Enroll in Medicare Before Your Current Coverage Ends
Signing up for Medicare before your group plan ends can ensure that you don’t experience a gap in coverage.
3.) Get the Employment Form Filled Out
Your employer or benefits administrator can issue you an employment form, which is the document that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Without a filled-out employment form, you could be hit with late enrollment penalties.
4.) Choose a Medicare Plan in Your Area
Because Medicare Part A and Part B come with big out-of-pocket costs, most enrollees choose to supplement their plan with Medigap. Alternatively, you can switch to a privately-managed Medicare Advantage plan.
5.) Stop Your HSA Contributions
To avoid a tax penalty, make sure that your employer is no longer contributing to your HSA 6 months before you retire.
Retiring in 2024 and Signing Up for Medicare: Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Q: What will retirees pay for Medicare in 2024?
A: The 2024 monthly Medicare premium is $170.10. However, retirees also have to pay for things like copays, deductibles, hearing, vision, and more. In addition, there are surcharges for high earners that can bring the cost of your premium up.
Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans vary in cost depending on your level of coverage.
Q: What is the Medicare Part B Premium in 2024?
A: The standard Medicare Part B Premium is $170.10 per month in 2024. However, this can be more depending on your income bracket.
For example, if you file individually and you made more than $91,000, then your Part B premium will increase to $238.10 per month. At the high end, individuals making above $500,000 will have to pay $578.30.
Q: Does Everyone Get Medicare When They Retire?
A: Medicare is available to anyone who is:
- 65 or older
- Younger than 65 but has a disability or End Stage Renal Disease.
Q: Do I Need Medicare Part B if I Have Retiree Insurance?
A: Most retiree insurance plans require that the policyholder enroll in Medicare when they are first eligible. Otherwise, the retiree insurance might pay a reduced amount, or nothing at all.
Q: Can I Sign Up for Medicare if I Keep Working?
A: Yes, it is possible to sign up for Medicare right when you turn 65, even if you’re not retiring. Just make sure to sign up for Medicare before dropping your employee plan, so there is no gap in coverage.
Ready to Sign Up for Medicare?
If you’re retiring in 2024 and are ready to sign up for Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement plan, make an appointment with your Personal Benefits Manager. A short no-cost consultation can pair you with the best plan for your needs, and your coverage can begin in under a month.
Still in the research phase? The MediGap Advisors Blog has a trove of educational material, enrollment checklists, plan comparisons, and more.
Tom Lockwood is a Personal Benefits Manager at MediGap Advisors. Tom has a passion for bringing clarity to those confused about Medicare. He is an authority on Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug plans. Read more about Tom on his Bio page.