Steps You Should Take 12 Months Before Retirement

Getting to the 12-month mark for your retirement journey is a milestone. Hopefully, by this point, you have started the initial research process and have a general understanding of where to begin. But no matter where you are at the 12-month mark, here are the important next steps you should take.

Attend a Pre-Retirement Presentation or Watch a Webinar

If you expect to become eligible for Medicare or Marketplace coverage in the next 12 months, there is a lot of information you will want to know about your options and what you need to do to transition smoothly into the right health plan. What’s more, everyone’s circumstances are different, so you will likely have questions about the steps you should take on your retirement journey.

A great first step is attending a pre-retirement presentation or watching a pre-retirement webinar to begin building your knowledge about the upcoming steps you need to make.

Begin Learning the Basics About Your Health Plan Options

If you are planning to move to Medicare in the next 12 months, you have a specific set of steps you should take that are largely determined by your unique situation.

First, you can begin by learning the basics of Medicare.

Did you know?

  • You must be eligible for Medicare in order to sign up. Many different factors play into what makes you eligible and when, so be sure to read more about the Medicare eligibility rules.
  • Medicare is made up of several distinct “Parts” that provide the various forms of coverage. Each of these Parts come with different costs, an important piece to be aware of as you plan your retirement. Read more about what Medicare covers and what it costs.
  • You have specific time frames during which you can and should enroll. If you miss your opportunity to enroll during the appropriate window, you may be charged late penalties that not only add unnecessary expense but could stay with you the rest of your life. Read more about how and when to enroll in Medicare.
  • If you are planning to work beyond age 65 and not take Medicare at that time, there are still very important steps you need to take. Following these steps in the appropriate order can save you time, reduce stress and help you avoid unnecessary late enrollment penalties later down the road. Read more about the things you should know if you plan to continue working beyond 65.
  • Check out our articles on Medicare to learn more.

Retiring early? If you expect to need a retirement health plan prior to age 65, you will most likely not qualify for Medicare.

However, there are still options available to you through the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes referred to as Obamacare or Affordable Care Act plans).

The quick facts below are a great place to get started.

Did you know?

  • If you purchase an individual health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you might qualify for a monthly premium tax credit. This monthly subsidy is dependent on your household income and is intended to help with the cost of your health plan premium.
  • You can purchase an Affordable Care Act plan either on or off the Health Insurance Marketplace. Sometimes, people refer to this as “on Exchange” or “off Exchange.” However, you will not receive premium tax credits if you purchase a health plan off Exchange.
  • There are specific times when you can sign up for a Marketplace plan. The most common is during the Marketplace Open Enrollment Period (OEP). However, if you retire and leave employer coverage, you would also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

Outline Your To-Do List

If you expect to retire early and go on a Marketplace plan, we encourage you to contact one of our advisors to get an idea of the things you should build into your plan.

If you are planning to move to Medicare in the next 12 months, there are some additional steps you should plan on.

12 Months Before Turning 65 and/or Medicare Eligibility

  • Learn the basics of Medicare, including Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D, eligibility and enrollment.
  • Sign up for RetireMEDiQ’s email newsletter to ensure you never miss a deadline and are always informed and in control of your Medicare situation.
  • Consider attending an educational meeting to learn about the differences between Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements and Part D Prescription Drug plans.
  • Reach out to a trusted advisor to receive guidance on your unique situation. You can reach us at or

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