I turn 65 this month. I live in AZ.Do I have to apply for Medicare? Do I have to apply for my Social Security monthly income at this time even though I'm not at full retirement age? Do I have to pay any benefits back?
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So I'm guessing that "cost containment" is your state's version of the affordable care act or your states version of whatever is offered to those who are low income or disabled? ACA is designed for those who need health insurance and cannot get the coverage they need either on their own or through employer or other insurance is too limiting. Now once you qualify for Medicare & become enrolled then you can forget about the cost-containment one as Medicare becomes your primary health insurer. (Medicaid would be your secondary). You have been paying into Medicare through your FICA all these years and it is a benefit you are fully entitled too. You should apply for Medicare when you are 3 months before reaching 65. If you wait to apply for Medicare after your turn 65, they can charge higher premiums too and coverage can be delayed. Medicare application is super time-sensitive, just remember do it 3 months before turning 65 to apply. If your current coverage is tied into your job and you can continue stay on it & it works for you, you can keep using it and not use Medicare too. So you are enrolled in Medicare but not using it. BTW you likely will be flooded with all sort of Medicare supplement plans too, most of these do NOT at all work in tandem with those on Medicaid. Yep, All this can be quite confusing too. There may be a workshop done by AARP or your local Agency on Aging that goes into what's what on all this. Google or call about to see what's out there.
For SS, full retirement age is 66. What that means is that whatever you can draw from SS is benchmarked on what your work history income is or will be to that point in time. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DRAW SS @ 66. In general, every year you wait to start SS you gain 6 - 8 % in monthly income to a maximum amount at age 70. 6 - 8% is a lot of $$ over time…..
So if you wait till age 70, you have increased your SS check by a maximum of 32%. That's a huge amount, just think what your life today would be like if you got paid 32% more each day. Imagine that you live to age 85, so having 32% more income each month will be just so important. Personally I would wait as long as you can to make the age 70 benchmark if you can afford to do so & your health history is such that it is reasonable to assume you will live to your 80's or 90's.
Your probability of making 70 and not needing the SS $ to me is the key to making the decision as to when to apply for SS. You know you have been paying into SS since the first time you every worked and had FICA taken out. So look into your situation - income, expenses, your health, your job - to see if you can reasonably work another couple of years & reasonably be OK to pay on everything another couple of years without the SS income and reasonably live to 78 or beyond. If everything says yes, then waiting till age 68, 69 or 70 and getting up to 32% more in retirement makes very good sense.
SSA puts out a 2 page document called "When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits" SSA Publication # 05-10147 that is pretty good on how SS can work.