health insurance

If you are nearing the gateway age of 65 both you and your mail carrier have probably noticed a big increase in how much mail you are receiving. Everyone seems to know your age and wants you to buy their product!

Of course Social Security knows this information and you’ve probably received a letter from them as well, especially the one that is titled “Thinking of retiring?” This letter says in a little box article “To Avoid a Medicare Penalty Sign Up at Age 65”. This can be unsettling and cause people to enroll in Medicare A and B unnecessarily.

If you have work insurance either through your own employment or your spouse’s and this coverage will continue you may just want to enroll in Medicare Part A. This is the hospital coverage for Medicare and it won’t cost anything if you worked and contributed to Medicare for at least 10 years. That way if you have a hospital stay your work insurance covers you as well as Medicare A. Otherwise you can wait and enroll in both Medicare A & B when you know your work insurance will be ending.

Everyone’s situation is different and the whole insurance issue is confusing, but educating yourself about your options is important so you have the coverage you’ll be comfortable with financially and mentally when you need it.

One way to learn about the different parts of Medicare coverage and its costs is by attending a free informational workshop conducted by the Nebraska Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). There you will receive unbiased information without any sales pitch. SHIIP counselors (like myself) have received initial training and are updated twice a year with additional training to keep us in the loop on changes to Medicare. In addition we have contacts at the Nebraska Department of Insurance to make sure the information we present is correct.

A New to Medicare workshop will be held Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., in Tekamah in the Burt County Courthouse meeting room. Anyone from any county is welcome to attend so you are encouraged to bring your spouse or a friend with you. Please call UNL Extension in Burt County at 402-374-2929 to register for this workshop by noon the day of the workshop so there will be enough materials available.

Don’t let this 65th birthday gateway overshadow your celebration. Get information and unbiased assistance by attending this educational workshop.