Thank you for your responses.
On May 16, 2014 I will turn 65 years old.
I currently have cobra medical insurance through my former employer. OK.
I don't want to run the risk of a gap in coverage during the transition to Medicare. I understand.
What are the steps I need to take to enroll in medicare at age 65 and when? Within 3 months of your 65th birthday you will want to enroll at the link provided below. This is for people who don't plan on collecting their SS retirement at that "early" age of 65, but do need to get Medicare. But you MUST proactively apply, it won't be automatic.
When & how should I discontinue my current coverage? I'd definitely wait until your Medicare is on board. So when you turn 65 (after you have applied just before turning 65), you want to notify your COBRA carrier.
How should I go about finding a medicare supplement policy? You can research on the web or use a Medicare Broker. Just the other day, because it is the time period to change policies, my mother went from an Advantage Plan to Original Medicare with a Supplement (the supplement fills in the gaps not covered by A&B, like deductibles, co pays, etc.). The agent we used I had met at an informational display, where I was advising on Social Security and her company, Bankers, we informing on what it provides in terms of Medicare. Anyway, she was SO good at explaining the differences between Advantage plans vs. supplements and we so appreciated it, and looking at which would best fit my mom's needs. That being said, if you can find someone like that who does not work for ONE company but can sell various Medicare company's products so as to be able to point out the best one for you (not push the only one she sells) - I think it is helpful. SO much depends on your income, what you can afford, what health needs you have, including prescriptions, etc.
Anything else I need to know? You seem to be heading in the right direction - and not waiting until the last minute IS important, so you can learn of all the policies and what they will cover, so you can choose. Note that the Advantage plans, which are provided by private companies, having differing coverages for different states/regions. Site the allow you to search, you will see, ask for your zip code. We ended up NOT going with an Advantage plan, but with the F plan which is a supplement (the most expensive but no more deductibles, not co pays, no 20%, etc.) And apparently once you are in a supplement, they can't kick you out. Once one is ill a lot or deteriorating, one likely can't get into the higher coverage medicare supplements.
I would likely use the link below for learning the basics of what is out there:
Any good online resources you can recommend? See the above!
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