With Susan B. Garland, Editor of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Susan Garland is editor of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, a personal finance publication whose subscribers are retirees, and those approaching retirement and are eager to understand the various financial benefits and expenses related to retirement, such as enrolling in Medicare in a timely manner, what types of healthcare insurances to buy, etc.
Garland walks us through the maze of signing up with Medicare – with tips on what seniors need to do, specifics such as enrolling in Medicare within a seven month window, penalties for not signing up on time, and how various employment situations (such as the size of your employer) impact your enrollment in Medicare.
For example, Garland tells us that seniors become eligible for Medicare on their 65th birthday and must ideally sign up for Medicare a few months before they turn 65, or risk not having coverage for a few months. She also talks about employer size and how that impacts enrolling in Medicare. So if you are 65, working and covered through your employer, you can stick with your company plan and sign up for Medicare within 8 months of leaving that job… but this rule only applies to companies with more than 20 employees. If you work for a small business with less than 20 employees, your employer is not obligated to cover your healthcare needs after you turn 65… and there’s a good chance your private insurer could ask you to pay back whatever it spent for your healthcare, which can add up to a really big amount if you had a hospital stay – so being ignorant of Medicare enrollment requirements is simply not worth it.
Garland also educates us on the various parts of Medicare, what they cover and what you must additionally purchase to cover co-pays, etc. For example, Medicare Part A pays for hospital services at no cost to you, Part B has a premium that starts at about $105 per month, Part D covers prescription drug coverage and MediGap Supplemental Insurance helps pay for expenses not covered by Medicare. Her talk is an essential primer to getting you ready for Medicare as you approach your 65th birthday.