Medicare is a health insurance program created to cover important medical costs for citizens aged 65 or older. Enrolling in Medicare and choosing a Medicare plan is a decision you have to make carefully because there are some potential mistakes you might end up with if you do not arm yourself with the necessary information. Below are some costly Medicare mistakes you should avoid.
1) Enrolling after the deadline
Your first opportunity to enroll in Medicare is during the Initial Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday. If you are eligible for Medicare, it is important to register during your Initial Enrollment Period, to avoid the late enrollment penalty.
If you receive Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare and your premiums will be deducted from your benefits. However, if you do not, then you will need to sign up during the IEP. The only way to delay your Part B enrollment without a penalty is if you have group health insurance through your current employer or spouse.
If you do not and you miss the IEP, you will pay a lifetime penalty for Medicare Part B. The penalty for Part A is a 10% premium increase for twice the number of years you delayed enrollment. For Part B, this penalty lasts as long as you are enrolled in Medicare.
2) Assuming you have joint coverage
It’s impossible to enroll in Medicare while assuming the program provides coverage for you and your spouse. However, Medicare doesn’t work like employee health insurance. Medicare only provides individual health coverage and does not cover your spouse or the rest of your family. So, before you enroll, it is important to know what type of coverage you’ll receive. To get Medicare coverage, your spouse will have to meet the eligibility requirements on their own.
3) Enrolling in the wrong plan
While Medicare will help to cover important health costs, enrolling in the wrong plan could be very costly as you may not get the coverage you need. For example, if you need coverage for prescription drugs and you only signed up for Part A and Part B, you will not get what you need. It is important to get the necessary information about the Medicare plan you are about to enroll in.
Medicare Part A and Part B offer coverage for inpatient and outpatient hospital and medical services. Part C offers the same services as Part A and B, in addition to prescription drug coverage and other benefits. To get coverage for prescription drugs, you will need Medicare Part D. Medicare Supplements help cover certain out-of-pocket expenses from Original Medicare.
4) Going out of network in Medicare Advantage
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, especially HMOs, you will be required to stay in-network to get coverage. If you go outside the network or you move out of your plan’s coverage area, you will cover all the healthcare costs. If you move out of your service area, you can switch to another Part C plan.
For more information and help with Medicare plans, contact us today at 832-308-0123. We are here to help!