Avoid a Medicare penalty: Sign up at age 65


Dr. James D. Knecht solves health problems. Aloys Duty solves health insurance problems. They both graduated from Natchitoches Central High School in 1971. This year they both turned 65 and Aloys told Dr. Knecht about the process of signing up for Medicare, taking out a Medicare Supplement and applying for Part D Drug Coverage.

Are you approaching retirement age? No one tells you how to navigate through the Medicare process, but Crows Bureau Insurance will help you do it!

STEP 1: Apply for your Medicare Part A and Part B card 3 months before the first day of your birth month for age 65.

If you don’t get it ahead of time, it could cause problems with getting your Medicare supplement. Part A covers hospital costs and is free. Part B covers medical expenses and costs around $134/month if you’re not already collecting your Social Security benefits for them to take it out of.

A special piece of advice from Crows Bureau: Make sure you set up monthly installments with automatic drafts from your checking account, otherwise they will bill you quarterly.

“No one tells people this hard stuff,” said Aloys.

“That’s why your insurance is only as good as your agent.”

STEP 2: Once you get your Medicare Part A&B Card in the mail, bring it to Crows Bureau to sign up for your Medicare Supplement.

This must be in affect by the first day of your birth month for age 65. There are an abundance of plans to choose from. Aloys recommends Plan F, which means you pay no deductible or no copay for office visits or no 20% co-insurance on Hospital or ER.

“Just think about what it’d be like to go to the doctor and not be afraid of your deductible, co-pay, or 20% co-insurance” said Aloys.

A special piece of advice from Crows Bureau: If you take your Medicare Supplement out at the right time, you can’t be penalized for smoking or pre-existing health conditions.

STEP 3: Apply for your Part D Drug Coverage card one month before your birth month.

It must be in affect by the first day of your birth month. List all your medications online at medicare.gov to get help finding the company that will be best for you. Crows Bureau can help you with this step.

“I was relieved to turn 65 in February, 2018 and get my Medicare card,” said Aloys. “I’ve gone from paying $758 to $277 per month for ALL my health insurance. Believe it or not, there are ways to get it more affordable for your income. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

STEP 4: If you already have a supplement and it keeps going up, let Crows Bureau shop it for you and find you a better price. The only difference from company to company is the price.

A special piece of advice from Crows Bureau: Starting Jan. 1, 202, Medigap plans sold to new people with Medicare won’t be allowed to cover the Part B deductible. Because of this, Plans C and F will no longer be available to people new to Medicare starting on Jan. 1, 2020. If you already have either of these two plans (or the high deductible version of Plan F) or are covered by one of these plans before Jan. 1, 2020, you’ll be able to keep your plan. If you were eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled, you may be eligible to buy one of these plans.