We’ve always stressed that Medicare can be pretty confusing at times. At Senior Financial Group, we do our best to help our clients feel more informed and comfortable when it comes to their decision making despite the overwhelming number of options.
In hopes to give you more confidence when faced with your choices, the following are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when dealing with Medicare:
1. Failure to Enroll in Medicare:
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B upon turning 65. However, if you have decided to postpone filing for Social Security until full retirement age or later, you will need to manually sign up for Medicare. You have seven months (from three months before your 65th birthday, your birthday month, to three months after) to enroll. This is called your “Initial Enrollment Period“.
2. Missing the Deadline to Sign Up After Leaving Your Job:
If you are 65, working and have health insurance through your employer, you probably don’t need to sign up for Medicare yet. (This also allows you to avoid paying Part B premiums). In this scenario, the only reason you might want to sign up for Medicare is if those Part B premiums would cost less than your insurance through your employer.
However, if you leave your job, you have eight months to enroll in order to receive coverage in time. If you fail to do so, you will have to wait until the next enrollment period without coverage and could potentially be hit with a 10% lifetime late-enrollment penalty.
3. Choosing the Wrong Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) Policy:
It’s critical to choose the right Medigap policy based on your individual needs. If you choose a plan, but then try to switch afterwards, insurers can charge more or even reject you based off of your previous health conditions. Working with a professional can help you avoid errors going through this process.
4. Assuming Your Medical Providers Will Always be Covered by Your Medicare Advantage Plan:
This applies only if you choose a Medicare Advantage plan instead of a Medicare Supplement plan.
Typically when you get your coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to use that plan’s network of doctors and hospitals in order to get the lowest co-pays. Therefore, it’s very important to check beforehand that your doctor(s) is in network.
Additionally, you should review your plan annually with your advisor to make sure any new plan/network changes don’t affect you or what doctors you can see.
5. Losing Track of Your Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage):
Open Enrollment Period (October 15th to December 7th) is a great time for you to review all your options, as well as make sure there are no significant, unexpected premium increases. Also, if you have been prescribed any new medications throughout the year, it would be a good idea to check if any generic options for your drugs are available.
We recommend keeping a list of any medications you are currently taking, as well as past medications you no longer take.
Make your health a priority by choosing the best plan for you.
Seeking professional will give you a more thorough examination of your options and potential benefits with less effort on your end.