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Tips for people enrolling in Medicare for the first time

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Posted at 2:53 PM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 15:33:58-05

(WXYZ) — If you're just turning 65 and looking to enroll in Medicare for the first time, there are several things you should be aware of regarding your health expenses.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is going on now and will be open until Dec. 7, and there are five different things you should be on the lookout for, from Tami Hibbitts, the vice president of senior markets for Priority Health.

First, you can create a free account on the social security website. It keeps track of your earnings and can provide you with an estimate of your monthly benefit.

You should also make sure that your earnings are being recorded accurately, as they will be used to determine Social Security benefits in retirement.

Second, talk to a trusted financial advisor to discuss expected income and expenses after you retire. They will also take a look at your spending habits and help you prepare for what is coming in the future. That person should be a certified financial planner (CFP).

Next, make sure you are looking at your current healthcare and investigating the Medicare options available for you.

When seeking out a financial advisor, be sure to find someone who is a certified financial planner (CFP), meaning they are licensed and regulated and have undergone special training.

"For example, if you will not have employer sponsored coverage, it will be important to determine if Original Medicare (Parts A and B) offers enough coverage or if you’d like more coverage (Parts C and D) with a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan," Hibbitts said. "Consider using resources such as Medicare Plan Advisor and Medicare Guide from Priority Health to help you navigate through the variety of options."

Priority Health also wants to make sure you identify needs and desires you may have transitioning into retirement, like traveling, joining a gym, or even seeking in-home assistance. If those things are for you, it may be best ot look into a Medicare Advantage plan.

Those plans offer everything Medicare does, plus more. For Priority Health, that includes things like free fitness memberships, out-of-state travel benefits, dental and vision coverage and more.

Finally, Hibbitts said to mark your calendar for the Annual Enrollment Period, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. this is the one time where you can make changes to your coverage, and it's important to take a look at all of your options.

For more information, visit the Priority Health website.