Today in the United States, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65.
Every day for the next decade, 10,000 more will do the same.
In Mecklenburg County alone, about 9,000 residents will turn 65 this year and become eligible for Medicare.
If national surveys are right, most people are confused about enrolling in the federal governments health insurance program for senior citizens.
If youre in this group, theres help available at a National Medicare Education Week workshop from 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursday at Charlottes Jewish Community Center, 5007 Providence Road.
Donna Reynolds, regional vice president with UnitedHealthcare in North Carolina, will describe the basics of Medicare. There will also be information about using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to find information.
The forum is free, but registration is required by calling 919-443-1560.
People need to be informed so they can do whats best for their health needs and their budget, Reynolds said.
Here are some tips:
• If youre turning 65, your initial enrollment period is three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday and the three months after your birthday. There is a penalty for late enrollment. You are allowed to change coverage every year during the Medicare open enrollment period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
• At 65, if you have paid into Social Security and worked 40 or more quarters, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), for which there is no fee. You must elect to enroll in Medicare Part B (which covers doctor visits), for which a monthly premium is deducted from Social Security.
• Medicare Parts A and B do not pay 100 percent of medical expenses. You may want supplemental insurance to cover premiums, deductibles and co-insurance.
• Medicare Advantage (Part C) is an alternative to traditional Medicare. Make sure your doctors and hospitals are in the preferred network of providers in any policy you choose.
• Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage through private insurers. Check drug formularies to make sure it includes your medicines.