Medicare is complicated. This is the major criticism against it. Many Medicare mistakes occur on a regular basis. Avoiding these mistakes ensures that you’ll have far fewer challenges in getting the care you require.
If you haven’t enrolled in Medicare yet, recognizing these blunders will put you way ahead of the competition. The most effective treatment is prevention.
If you’re currently enrolled, you may save money and aggravation by determining that you’re not making any of these frequent errors.
Avoid these common Medicare mistakes:
1. Assuming that the best Part D Plan is the same as that of your spouse. Take a look at your prescription needs. They most likely are different from those of your spouse. Make sure you know what kind of coverage you have for the drugs you take on a daily basis. Not all Prescription Drug Programs cover all prescriptions in the same way or at the same cost. Just because your spouse or friend has a prescription drug program doesn’t mean it is suitable for you.
- Determine your out-of-pocket expenses separately for yourself and your spouse. Make sure you’re both enrolled on the most suitable plan for your particular circumstances.
2. Assuming you haven’t worked enough to qualify for Medicare. It just takes 40 quarters, or 10 years, of employment to avoid paying Part A premiums. Hospital care is covered under Part A. Make sure you’re not disqualified instead than making assumptions.
3. Believing that open enrollment is the only time you can make a change. There are certain circumstances under which you may change your plan outside of the typical October 15th through December 7th window. Check to see whether any apply to you; if so, do your homework.
4. Not realizing that you can sign up for Medicare when you turn 65:
- If you don’t qualify for social security benefits, you’ll have to enroll in Medicare directly. It’s possible to enroll online.
- If you are getting social security payments, you automatically join Medicare unless you opt-out.
5. Paying significantly more in premiums due to a slight increase in income. Earning more than $85,000 per year as an individual can increase your premiums significantly. If you’re near the ceiling, it’s worth making a few minor changes to stay under $85,000.
6. Attempting to combine a health savings account and Medicare Part A. You can’t do both. You can continue to contribute to your HSA after you reach the age of 65, but you’ll be unable to enroll in Part A insurance coverage. Determine which is more important for you:
7. Failing to get expert advice. One of the most damaging things you can do when it comes to Medicare is to rely on a friend’s advice. Most people not trained on how the different supplemental plans function miss many nuances that could help or even worse hurt your specific situation
- Your unique financial and health situations are important factors to consider when making Medicare decisions. Your friend’s advice is influenced by his own situation. If you have questions, find a true professional like your friends at Beacon Point Insurance.
8. Failing to sign up because you’re still employed. Depending on the quality of your employer’s insurance plan, it can be very advantageous to sign up for Medicare when you reach 65.
9. Assuming your healthcare providers will still be part of your Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans require that your hospital and healthcare providers be part of the plan’s specific network arrangement. Some networks like HMOs do not allow you to get coverage outside their network unless it’s an emergency room visit. Otherwise, if you choose a PPO and go to someone out of network you’ll pay more in co-payments or co-insurance. Long story short, it will cost you more than you think.
- You can even be denied coverage for a medical need if you choose the wrong provider. Choose a plan that includes your doctor or find another doctor.
By avoiding these common Medicare mistakes, you can ensure that you have the most economical coverage for your situation. For financial benefits and your peace of mind, take the time to examine your current coverage.