So you’ve worked hard all your life. Now, you are starting to think about hanging up your spurs and dreaming about all the well-earned relaxation, personal goals, and family time ahead.
You may not have quite hit formal retirement age yet, but you’re almost there and getting ready to blow out 65 candles soon. And your time on the job is starting to wind down too. Even if the final day isn’t set in stone yet — and could be years away — you can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Right now, there are a few things you need to start thinking about and planning for. On top of the emotions you’ll have about the changes to come, there are a few practical real-world logistics that need to be taken care of.
For most people, one of the first items on the to-do list will be obtaining healthcare coverage that can last you for the rest of you life. And this usually means enrolling in Medicare. But how do you enroll? What supplemental coverage do you need? What do you do if you plan to work well past your 65th birthday?
To understand it all, you should start doing some research on your own and talk to a professional expert if you can. But the following break down will help lead you down the right path as you begin to make some very important decisions about your future.
Knowing All Your Options
One of the best benefits of working past 65 is that you may now have several healthcare options at your disposal. If you love the employer-provided private plan that you have been using, that’s great! You are free to stay on that plan until you do finally decide to retire.
But once you hit 65, you are also eligible to transition to Medicare instead — even if you plan to keep working for years to come. Doing so may save you money, as employer-provided plans can be pricey and generally charge relatively high rates for add-on coverage like vision and dental.
Should You Stay or Should You Go?
Still, it isn’t all about cost. If you have had great experiences with your current plan, it’s understandable to not want any change just based on some savings unless the difference is overwhelming.
Then again, Medicare also affords you the ability to take advantage of Medicare Advantage plans that can give you a range of additional coverage, and they often operate like a PPO that allows you to go out of network and see specialists without referrals. Especially if your other option is a restrictive HMO, making the move now may make the most sense.
Obtaining the Best Healthcare Coverage
Some people aren’t ready for retirement at age 65. Does this mean they aren’t ready for Medicare at 65 either? Not exactly. But in some cases, it may not be time to make the switch just yet.
If you’re 65 and still working and you love your employer plan, feel free to stick with it. On the other, for many, it makes a lot of sense to transition over as soon as they can. Most people will spend their final years relying on Medicare anyway, and along with an Advantage plan or other supplementary coverage, it will usually give you most of what you need — and often more than you already have. It definitely makes a lot of sense to switch over as soon as you can.
The best strategy is to compare all your options. You still have a little bit of time — but not forever. Do your homework now. That way you’ll be ready to make the best decision for you and your family.