Turning 65? Congratulations! You are now eligible for Medicare! But what do you do next? Firstly, it’s important to know that your Initial Enrollment Period or IEP begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday. Secondly, you aren’t required to sign up for Medicare. However, if you enroll after your IEP, a Late Enrollment Penalty will be added to your monthly premiums for life. Lastly, you must sign up for Medicare with the Social Security Administration (SSA), a Hawaii SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) partner. SSA.gov provides instructions on how to enroll online for Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).
Once you’ve enrolled, contact the Department of Health, Hawaii SHIP to schedule a one-on-one counseling session to find the best plan option that meets your healthcare needs. Our Medicare-certified counselors will walk you through your IEP. They will explain Parts A through D, the differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage and how to avoid late enrollment penalties. You may also learn that you qualify for financial assistance to pay prescription drug costs, premiums, co-payments and coinsurances. Best of all, the service is free, unbiased and confidential.
Free, local, one-on-one Medicare counseling provided by the Hawai‘i State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
250 South Hotel St., Ste. 406, Honolulu, HI 96813
Oahu: 808-586-7299 | Toll free: 888-875-9229