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The year was 1951. Movie audiences were screeching at the sight of The Thing From Another World. JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye had literary critics in rapture. And Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ‘round the world” won the National League pennant for the New York Giants after being 14 games out of first place just weeks earlier.

If you’re turning 65 in the next 12 months, you were among nearly 4 million babies born in America in 1951 – right in the thick of the post-war Baby Boom. The couple of decades between World War II and the Beatles have been written about and dissected endlessly, mostly lumping Boomers together as a generic group. But of course, each Boomer’s story is unique, as are their health needs.

As you approach 65 and start to consider life without an alarm clock, you don’t want unexpected health care costs to erase all of your diligent financial planning. Now that you’re nearly eligible for Medicare, you need to start thinking about your insurance options – and how you’ll pay for health care that Medicare doesn’t cover.

How many months until you turn 65?

12 months | 11 months | 10 months | 9 months | 8 months | 7 months | 6 months | 5 months | 4 months | 3 months | 2 months | 1 month

Here’s a timeline of things to consider in the months leading up to your Medicare eligibility.

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12 Months

Happy 64th birthday! You’ll be eligible for Medicare in a year. Now’s the time to get answers to your questions about Medicare coverage.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) customers can sign up for our Medicare Birthday Club to receive monthly reminders, tips and suggestions for Medicare plans.

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11 Months

That month flew by pretty quickly, didn’t it? Now you can start learning more about your enrollment period.

And get the basics behind how Medicare plans work.

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10 Months

As you learn more about Medicare, questions start to arise: What does Medicare Part A cover?

How can I figure out what my Part B costs will be? What is covered under Part B? How do Parts C and D work? How are they different from A and B?

BCBSNC has licensed, trained staff to help you find answers to your questions.

You could also try the federal government’s Medicare website.

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9 Months

Perhaps the most common misperception about Medicare is that it pays for all health care costs. But it doesn’t.

You might want to explore a Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy – sometimes called a Medigap policy – to cover copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

BCBSNC offers a range of Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans to suit individual customers’ needs.

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8 Months

It’s time to start asking more detailed questions about a Medicare plan that works best for you.

  • What are the Part D (prescription drug coverage) options that suit your budget?
  • What kind of provider network do you want?
  • What Medicare plans are available where I live?

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7 Months

Don’t forget about your teeth! Poor dental health can contribute to serious health issues like diabetes and coronary heart disease.

With seven months to go, you can start checking out dental plans designed specifically for Americans 65 and over. BCBSNC offers Dental Blue for Seniors in all 100 counties of North Carolina.

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6 Months

You’re halfway through the year-long countdown to your 65th birthday and now that you’ve considered your options for a Medicare Supplement plan, you can sign up for one.

These plans cover many of the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B and policy holders can see any Medicare-participating doctor – with no claims to file.

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5 Months

Now you can think about scheduling a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit – at no cost.

During this visit, your doctor will provide a checklist of free screenings and preventive services covered by Medicare.

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4 Months

OK, there’s just one more month before you can officially sign up for Medicare.

If you haven’t already done so, you can make your selections among our Medicare Supplement plans. You can also consider our Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Coverage options.

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3 Months

You’ve done the research, you’ve considered your options – with just 3 months until you turn 65, you’ve reached the initial enrollment period. You can now enroll in Medicare. Don’t risk any delays or gaps in your health insurance coverage.

You can apply online or at your local Social Security office.

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2 Months

If you signed up last month – three months before your 65th birthday – you can now check to see the effective date of your Medicare coverage.

If you haven’t yet enrolled in Medicare or selected a Medicare Supplemental Plan, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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1 Month

For those who’ve already done their research, selected a plan and enrolled in Medicare, you can sit back and relax. You’re covered.

For those who haven’t yet enrolled, there’s still time to select a Medicare plan – and Medicare Supplemental  and Medicare Part D prescription plans – that will cover your health care and prescription needs.

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Make sure your 65th birthday is indeed a happy one. Start planning today for your health insurance and prescription needs!

Chris Privett

About Chris Privett

Chris Privett is a communications specialist at BCBSNC, assisting the company’s leaders with speeches and presentations. Chris has a particular interest in sharing stories about BCBSNC’s role as a committed partner in North Carolina’s communities. His communications career began in 1990 in television news, later transitioning to public relations roles in nonprofits.

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