Insuring Your Future: More Benefits to Turning 65 Than Senior Discounts

For many turning 65 is a life changing event.{{more}} It used to mean automatic retirement, downsizing and even moving to another part of the country. That is not the case now as more and more people continue to work or run their businesses, or even begin a post-retirement career! There is one aspect to turning 65 that does change and that is delivery of health benefits and insurance.

Applications for all Medicare programs can be initiated three months before or after your 65th birthday without incurring a penalty. If you miss this window, you then need to wait for the annual open enrollment period to sign up for Part D and/or Medicare Advantage plans.

The following are some highlights of each part and how and when to enroll:

Medicare Part A

Covers inpatient hospital care and some home health care for up to 100 days.

There are deductibles and co-insurance that range from a lump sum to a daily rate for in hospital or extended care facility. On the first day of the month that one turns 65, you are enrolled in Medicare “Part A.”

Medicare Part B

Pays 80 percent of doctor’s fees and qualified practitioners ie. chiropractors, psychologists, physical therapists, etc. and other services (non hospital).

Includes outpatient surgery and services Monthly premiums range from $114 and up

One must apply for Part B benefits which can be done online at or at the local Social Security office. There are two centers located near Orange, one in New Haven the other in Ansonia. It is best to call ahead for an appointment.

Medicare Part C

(Medicare Advantage)

Helps to cover a large portion of the deductibles, coinsurance fees and prescriptions not paid under Medicare A or B.

Patients can choose a plan that best fits their medical priorities and budget.

Medicare Advantage plans look and feel like the traditional health insurance i.e. it is through an insurance company. There are office co-pays and some deductibles for hospital stays, outpatient procedures, and prescription medications. Premiums range from $0 to over $200 per month depending on types of coverage. One must apply for these plans which can be done through your health insurance professional or directly through the insurance carrier.

Medicare Part D

(Prescription Drug plans)

Voluntary program that covers a portion of prescription drug costs not generally covered by Medicare programs. However, if you don’t enroll in a Part D plan within set time period after enrolling in Medicare A & B, you could pay a penalty.

Can be purchased alone or as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)

Monthly premiums generally range from $29/month to $150+. The type of plan that is the best depends on what type of prescription medications one takes as well as whether they are generic medications or a “specialty” drug.

What if I’m still


For many of us, turning 65 will not mean instant retirement and many continue to receive health benefits through an employer. There are two things to investigate: first, ask what retiree medical plans are in place in the company and whether you need to apply for Medicare B or wait until you actually retire. Compare how much you contribute toward the traditional health insurance premium and if it would be less expensive to enroll in Medicare directly. If your spouse or children are also covered under your insurance, this may also be a factor. Once you turn 65 you are no longer eligible to contribute to your HSA, although you may still use the funds that are in the account for medical expenses.

Turning 65 should be painless and with a little advanced planning, the process of enrolling in Medicare should be as well. Consult your insurance professional for a free consultation which will save you time and money.

Trish Pearson is a licensed independent insurance agent and certified Long Term Care Specialist. Contact her at 203-640-5969 0r