Enrolling in a Medicare plan can be complicated, and some mistakes can wind up being quite costly. Let us help you avoid paying more than you have to! Here are five big Medicare mistakes you should avoid.
Not Signing Up on Time
Knowing when to enroll in Medicare is crucial because if you miss it, you’ll be making a costly mistake.
Your initial enrollment period (IEP) for Medicare begins a little before you turn 65 and allows you to sign up for a plan. This period begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes your birthday month, and lasts until three months after. If you miss this period to enroll, you’ll get another chance during the general enrollment period.
During the general enrollment period, you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B between January 1 and March 31 of each year if both conditions apply to you:
- You didn’t sign up when you were first eligible
- And you aren’t eligible for a special enrollment period
You qualify for a special enrollment period under certain circumstances that require you to change your coverage. These can include your move out of your plan’s service area, your move back to the U.S. after living abroad, or your employer-provided plan ends. Note that your coverage won’t start until July 1, and you may be subject to late penalties.
Automatically Renewing Your Medicare Plan Without Reviewing it First
Automatic renewal may be convenient, but it can also come at a steep price if you aren’t careful. Your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan will automatically renew every year on January 1. Part D and Medicare Advantage plans can change what health benefits and prescription drugs they cover and even what you will pay in deductible, premium, copay, and coinsurance amounts from year to year.
Your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), which you receive every year, will identify any changes to your plan. Make sure you review your plan’s ANOC to ensure that it still meets your needs and is within your budget. If your plan doesn’t meet your needs, you can change during the open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Expecting Medicare to Cover All Your Health Expenses
A common Medicare mistake is assuming Original Medicare will cover all of your health insurance expenses. The reality is that Original Medicare – Part A and Part B – doesn’t cover everything. A few insurance expenses it doesn’t cover include:
- Hearing aids and exams to fit hearing aids
- Eye exams needed for prescribing glasses
- Routine foot care
- Most dental care
- Long-term care
Other expenses not covered are deductibles and copays. Before coverage kicks in for Part A (hospital visits) and Part B (outpatient care and doctor visits), you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket costs. You’ll also have to pay part of the cost for each day in the hospital as well as a portion of the costs for doctor visits, testing, labs, etc. To help cover these out-of-pocket expenses, look into getting Medigap Policies and Medicare Advantage.
Basing Your Plan Choice on Premiums
It’s easy to focus on plan premiums when looking at Medicare costs. But the premium is only one small part of what you pay for Medicare. As mentioned above, you also have to consider other costs you could have, like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance, and how they each work with your coverage. Also, think about how frequently you use health care services and items, as that will influence how much you pay as well.
For example, a plan with a low monthly premium may charge a large deductible. This may be preferable if you rarely go to the doctor and don’t take many medications, but a plan like this could be expensive if you use health care services often, even with the low premium.
Choosing the Same Plan as a Spouse/Friend
Choosing a Medicare plan can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. There’s a lot to think about! But when choosing your plan, don’t choose one because your spouse or friend did. Medicare is individual insurance. What works for one person’s health may not fit the needs of another.
We’re on Your Side
These big Medicare mistakes can seem intimidating, but Jeffery Insurance is always on your side. Our team is here to find what plan best suits your lifestyle and answer all the questions you have. We are based in Scottsdale but are happy to assist you no matter where you are in Arizona. We are Arizona’s health care resource!