Remember the familiar line chanted by children being driven somewhere, “Are we there yet?”

As I visit companies to conduct Medicare preretiree seminars, I hear employees nearing the age of Medicare eligibility, quietly asking each other something similar —“Are You There Yet?”

Most can hardly believe they are reaching their 65th birthday and will soon qualify for Medicare.

About 17,000 people in Hawai‘i are expected to turn 65 next year. Many may still be working and need to understand how Medicare will coordinate with their employer health coverage. Others want to learn more about valuable benefits, like FREE preventive screenings. Here are some rules:

STOP — Determine when you will first become eligible for benefits. You can use the Medicare Eligibility Tool at This will help you avoid late enrollment penalties.

LOOK — You should get your Medicare card in the mail a few months before your 65th birthday. Contact Social Security and Medicare if you do not receive your card. You can reach Social Security at 800-772-1213 or Medicare at 800-633-4227.

LISTEN — Learn more about your options by attending Medicare workshops during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, Oct. 15th through Dec. 7th. You can also call or meet with a licensed agent for more information.

So ask for directions if you need to, sit back and relax. You are almost there!

Martha Khlopin hosts the popular weekly radio program “Medicare Moment with Martha — The World of Medicare” sponsored by AlohaCare. It airs on KHNR-690AM on Saturdays from 11–11:30 a.m. and on KGU-99.5FM on Sundays from 10–10:30 a.m.For info, call (808) 973-0754,